Thursday, 4 November 2010

Trying to be Creative!

Having a much needed day off with hubby Mike who has just got back from three weeks working in West Africa.
Time like this is precious so I am always surprised when my brain starts thinking about work again - usually I disappear into  sci fi book to stop that happening!
However today I have found myself being rather creative - I have been asked for some advice from someone at Imperial college about green chemistry demonstrations. Chemists are becoming more and more aware that many of the processes they use are not very "green" plus lots of our resources are beginning to run low so we need to think about how w can change the way we do things to use less resources, less energy and protect the planet more.
Lots of the super demonstrations that you see in science shows use quite nasty chemicals meaning that schools or the public can't do them. Of course that is why we all love to put them in our shows - it is what makes someone come to see us!
But I have discovered working at Catalyst with very little money, in a very basic lab and no real technical support that I can't do all those classic flash bangs and smelly smoke style demos. Plus I can't dispose of the chemicals safely afterwards.
So I have developed alternative things and apparently so have one or two other presenters - mostly Americans.
It isn't easy to take an experiment or demonstration and use benign resources that will still give the WOW effect. Most audiences want to know you are using something really dangerous or that you could blow yourself up - Brainiac is still very close to everyone's consciousness!!

After a spot of being creative I visited one of my favourite web sites TED and found a super lecture by Mandelbrot - the fractal guy who died last month. I did a huge chunk of my degree on fractals and think they are so wonderful. Mandelbrot called  them bottomless wonders - he was right! I find it fascinating that a simple shape formula repeated over and over can produce something so beautiful! What a mind he had - RIP Benoit Mandelbrot

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