Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Just a quick report on our adventures at the Big Bang Aintree.

Early one drizzly summer morning we set out for Aintree racecourse with a car packed full of exciting science equipment and a huge box of dry ice!
We were in the Irish Bar which was also where everyone arrived to register and after setting up we had a look round the hall at the other exhibitors in our space and a quick cup of coffee. Then it was time!!!

We opened with the pink and blue bottle, moved swiftly into rainbow test tubes and then we were into our stride. Over the next 20 minutes we shared smart materials such as heat sensitive paper, our hydrochromic shower curtain, the
hydrogel balls ( of course) and far too soon it was time for the finale….vast amounts of dry ice!

We repeated the show in the morning and then raced to get all our gear off the stage for the next act. We were also to finish up the afternoon with one slightly longer show before the awards ceremony.

The hall was bustling full for most of the day but as the end got nearer our audience grew and grew and suddenly we were presenting to a packed hall with everyone really enjoying
themselves and joining in.

An unusual photograph from our point of view gives you a feel for what it was like. Pop over to our website for a gallery of images

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


without a freezer using science!

As I am writing this we are experiencing the hottest weather so far this year. So what better way to cool down than with some ice cream

Everyone loves a cool ice cream in summer - the sound of the ice cream van is evocative of long summer days.

Making home made ice cream can be as easy or as complex as you want it to be.
There are many custard based recipes where you have to do proper cooking before you even get to freeze your mix.

There are super scientists all over the place making it with liquid nitrogen ( huge fun but don't try it at home!)

this is me many years ago at Catalyst Science Discovery Centre Widnes

There are home ice cream machines - some that do the whole thing can be quite pricey - others where you freeze the bowl overnight and the machine basically churns the mix are cheaper.

However there is another  method which uses a little bit of science knowledge to drop the temperature and freeze the mix.

This is a favourite of American teachers! I made this when I was teaching in Tennessee and it really does work.

There are lots of posts on the internet with recipes and instructions so here are a few links. Find one you like and have a go.



One tip from someone who has had icecream all over the place and mixed in with the salt....use a double bag! All that manipulation of a very cold plastic bag can cause it to split.

If you are going to eat the ice cream - and why  not we ask -  you need to remember food hygiene rules and make sure everything you use is clean and hands are washed.

Have fun!!