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Bonfires with a Bang. Spectacular Chemistry Demonstration Lecture

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact John O'Toole.

We are delighted to welcome back the inimitable Dr Andy Szydlo for this year’s Bonfire Night spectacular Chemistry lecture (his previous Cambridge lectures have been truly memorable!).

Dr Szydlo will educate, entertain and enlighten all ages on the subject of bonfires and bangs.

Starting with the Chemistry of bonfires: the gaseous, liquid and solid products which are formed as intermediates during the combustion of wood; dry distillation (pyrolysis) and gas, wood tar, charcoal; gaseous and solid (ash) products of the final products of combustion (oxidation) of wood will be shown and discussed.Then a brief history of the science of bangs will introduce the chemistry and physics of thunder and lightning.

Throughout the talk, anecdotal material from the history of science will be used to enhance the explanations. A total of 21 experiments, with widely varying effects, will be shown.

An enthusiastic and engaging science communicator, Dr Szydlo frequently gives lectures in the UK and has appeared on Channel 4’s TV series That’ll teach ‘em. He is also an expert on the history of alchemy. His book, Water that does not wet hands: The Alchemy of Michael Sendivogius, tells the story of an unfairly forgotten Polish alchemist.

WARNING – There will be smoke, bright flashes and loud bangs!

The lecture is for all ages (>8), but not suitable for those with a nervous disposition.

Free admission. No tickets – so come early to get a good seat. Doors open at 18:30. Please contact organisers if you are bringing a large party (>10). Organised by SCI Cambridge & Great Eastern Region, RSC Mid-Anglia Section.

This talk is part of the SCI Cambridge Science Talks series.

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