The Edinburgh University outreach team visited Rothesay on 21st and 22nd January to run their regular science workshops for S3 and S1 at the school and hold a Science Evening at Rothesay Castle on the 21st, as part of the Baird of Bute Inspiring Science programme. The visit was financed with generous support from Afton Chemicals.
Two professors, the School of Chemistry widening participation officer (Dr Anna-Maria Maciejuk) and 11 undergraduate and postgraduate students travelled from Edinburgh. The two professors who travelled to Bute were Prof Eleanor Campbell (a former pupil of Rothesay Academy and vice Chair of the Baird of Bute Society) who holds the Chair of Chemistry at the University and Prof. Charles Cockell who is Professor of Astrobiology and Director of the UK Centre for Astrobiology. Postgraduates from the chemistry and physics departments with specialities such as mass spectrometry, crystallography, bionanopores and astrobiology were present (Kelly Gallagher, Dom Cairns-Gibson, Mark Taylor, Thomas Lambert, Kiani Jeacock, Katie Grant, Lavrentis Galanopoulos, Maria Mateos Jimenez) as well as undergraduate students from the school of physics and astronomy (James Henderson (from Mull) and Kenzie Gibson). Local girl Zara Henry who is currently a second year undergraduate studying biology came along to help with the workshops on Wednesday.
On Tuesday evening, the team treated an enthusiastic audience to science demontrations and an evening lecture in the Castle “A Tour of the Periodic Table” given by Prof Campbell with help from Prof Cockell and interesting and colourful demonstrations by Kelly Gallagher and Dom Cairns-Gibson. The evening lecture in the atmospheric surroundings of the castle hall attracted an excellent turnout of Rothesay Academy pupils and their teachers and families who enjoyed learning about the different atomic elements, the importance of recycling mobile phones, why we should think twice about using He balloons and how microbes could be used to mine important elements from rocks in space. The liquid nitrogen demonstrations were particularly popular with the audience. Three S2 pupils, Baileigh McIntyre, Keturah Duffin, Skye McKirdy, bravely provided musical entertainment with their spirited rendition of the New Periodic Table song.
The evening ended with a vote of thanks by Ms McKeown, followed by the opportunity to chat to the visitors over some refreshments and Baird of Bute moustache biscuits.