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Pioneering Bristol chemistry scheme reaches South Africa

Tim Harrison with two of the Science Demonstrators from Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

Tim Harrison with two of the Science Demonstrators from Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

Press release issued: 8 August 2011

A unique initiative to engage young people with the world of chemistry has been rolled out in South Africa.

Tim Harrison, Director of Outreach at the University's Bristol ChemLabS, has spent four days working at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg – the country’s biggest science centre.

He has delivered a series of seven lecture demonstrations to 2,100 youngsters, aged from 12 to 17, from a wide variety of state and independent schools in the surrounding area and Soweto.

A talk entitled A Chemical Delight looked at the chemical industry, explaining what is and isn't a chemical reaction by showing some simple chemical kinetics. 

The demonstrations included many of the reactions which have inspired generations of chemists such as work with liquid nitrogen, hydrogen explosions, iodine clock reactions and the ability of disposable babies nappies to absorb urine.

It was the second working visit by Tim to the centre in two years, where he’s previously trained Sci-Bono demonstrators to deliver chemistry outreach programmes which are similar to the one ChemLabS does in schools across the UK.

Another lecture demonstration, entitled A Pollutant's Tale, which has been performed nearly 900 times in the last six years by Bristol University staff, is now performed by Sci-Bono demonstrators to approximately 2,000 students per month in Johannesburg.

It is also performed in the Eastern and Western Cape regions by students from Rhodes University's School of Chemistry.

Whilst at the centre, Tim has also given further advice on the set-up of the chemistry laboratory and preparation room in addition to training demonstrators about kinetics and perfume chemistry.

The visit was sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry South African (North) branch.


Further information

Please contact Tim Harrison for further information.
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