Doors Open Day at King’s Building Campus

Doors all over King’s Building Campus were opened to the public on Saturday 23rd September as part of the national Doors Open Day celebrations

Alongside other CSE schools, chemistry was based in the Nucleus, with representation from staff, PhD and UG students, all eager to chat the public about chemistry!

From the research side, Cecilia Hong, Dr Joshua Levinsky and Saabir Petker (Hobday Group) had touchscreen computational models, crystal lattices and an interactive thermal camera to help explain their research. The neighbouring table had Jasmin Güven, Marco Mattia, Emma Tomlinson and Ryan Zhu (Mey Group) discussing all things protein modelling. DIY 3D craft models, an ‘egg-speriment’ demonstrating the denaturing of proteins (ovalbumin), ‘dye-namics’ demos to showcase molecular dynamics as well as a classic yeast and hydrogen peroxide reaction to showcase enzymes in action. Both groups were lined all day with member of the public intrigued to hear what research goes on inside the Joseph Black building.

Professor Colin Campbell gave short presentations titled “Footballs in space – turning data into music” in the Elm theatre, props aided his communication of this unique combination of music and science, two worlds that don’t often collide. The audiences were super engaged and plenty questions were asked!

Dr Jenny Gracie and a team of fantastic SoC ambassadors (Annie Zhao, Jenna Thomson, Julia Jakiela, Mariah Rong, Max Nyman, Tim Spankie, Weronika Glinka and Xinyue Gao) ran a host of hands-on activities in the Alder theatre. These were purposely designed to be ‘kitchen-based chemistry’, to encourage participants to experiment further at home. The tables covered fundamental chemistry concepts with edible reactions at the DIY sherbet station (a new taste for many young visitors and a nostalgic hit with the accompanying adults), two artistic tables covering cyanotype prints using photoreactive paper, and pH painting with the colourful combination of cabbage water (natural pH indicator), lemon juice and baking soda. The final chemistry station covered the chemistry of bubbles, exploring surface tension and shapes. A permanent queue formed at the giant bubble hoop, with everyone getting a chance to be inside the giant bubble and compete for the tallest bubble. There were lots of parents and grandparents hoping the children’s new found interest in soapy bubbles will mean more help with the dishes at home!

Visitor numbers were estimated at over 2,000 people coming through the doors at the Nucleus, a huge increase on previous years and a great sign that there is appetite for public engagement with our local communities.

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Open day photo