• Question: What was your favourite school experiment?

    Asked by theflyingscottsman to Meeks, Pete, Stephen, Steve, Tom on 14 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Stephen Curry

      Stephen Curry answered on 13 Jun 2010:

      When I was at school we didn’t get to do that many experiments ourselves. The ones I remember, which are probably my favourites, were dissecting a rat and blowing up (with a tube – not dynamite) the lungs of a cow that we got from an abattoir. Both kind of gory but I guess that’s why I’m in the life sciences now.

    • Photo: Marieke Navin

      Marieke Navin answered on 14 Jun 2010:

      All the experiments I did at school were dead boring! I think you do some more interesting ones now, and I do some at the museum which are good. At school the only thing I can think of was burning magnesium which was cool. I enjoyed the radioactivity stuff as well, when the teacher unlocked the radioactivity cupboard.
      I love doing experiments at the museum now, like red cabbage indicator – have you tried that? Get some red cabbage and soak it in hot water and drain the cabbage out, you are left with this awesome purple coloured solution. What happens to the solution when you add an acid (e.g. lemon juice)? What happens to the colour when you add an alkali (e.g. bicarbonate of soda)? Try it! Have your parents got any red cabbage in the kitchen??

    • Photo: Steve Roser

      Steve Roser answered on 14 Jun 2010:

      It was one that I shouldn’t have been doing where I mixed together two fairly innocuous chemicals (not telling which) which I knew made a contact explosive when dry – when wet its perfectly safe, when dry, one touch and poof! a cloud of purple vapour. I just shouldn’t have dried it on teh school radiators…..

    • Photo: Tom Hartley

      Tom Hartley answered on 14 Jun 2010:

      I was lucky that we had some very exciting demonstrations that I am not sure would be allowed any more (e.g., putting sodium in water – it goes bang and fizzes around, dangerously – or detonating a balloon full of hydrogen: kaboom!). Those demonstrations really stuck in my memory. The best experiment I did at school was for my A-level project, because I was able to think it up myself. I can’t remember the precise details, but I got people to put one oscillator in tune with another, and I measured how accurately the did this. I think I varied the pitch to see whether people were better at tuning to high pitches or lower pitches. I am afraid I’ve forgotten what the outcome was.

      What experiment would you like to run?