A group of undergraduates, postgraduates and staff have returned to Bute for the third time, to run science activities in the school and the town of Rothesay.
The visit started in the senior school, Rothesay Academy, talking to new S4 pupils about our experiences at university. We didn't just talk about our degrees, but also our experiences of sports and societies, making new friends and living away from home. We then ran a series of workshops based around photosynthesis, IR spectroscopy (with RSC SIAS), making transistors, space, and photoactive materials (with Solar Spark). All pupils attended three sessions, giving them a chance to learn some new concepts and try experiments extending the curriculum.
That evening, Science Shots was run in The Esplanade Hotel, with three talks focussed around sustainability (recycling precious metals from waste electronics, materials for heat storage, and novel dyes for the photocatalytic purification of water) and a set of tabletop experiments including forming nylon, switching whisky and water between glasses using just a playing card to help, and a light show using luminol and bleach. The audience spanned a wide age range, and we even had some alumni attending.
The beautiful weather and Bank Holiday weekend helped to attract a lot of interest for our outdoor science busking on the Saturday, where we made slime and giant bubbles, and explored science we could do with items found in the kitchen. We used cornflour and water to investigate Non-Newtonian fluids, and used physics to explain the best way to push a straw through a potato, how to push a skewer through a balloon without popping it and how to tell the difference between a fresh and a hardboiled egg without cracking them.
Later that day, the volunteers had some time to be tourists and visited Mount Stuart, the ancestral home of the Marquis of Bute. We also fitted in a quick ice cream and watched the Waverley (the last ocean-going paddle steamer in the world) set off from Rothesay Harbour.
Click the images below for a closer look at our activities: