Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Women in Physics Open Day at Imperial College

Today, Imperial College hosted a Women in Physics Open Day for year 11 and 12 students with special speakers including Mark Richards, Head of Outreach at Imperial; Jess Wade, a PhD student in her final year; Marina Galand, a Senior Lecturer at Imperial.

The girls who visited enjoyed science demos including 'invisible' water beads, spectrometers, dancing cornstarch,  making clouds with dry ice and superconductors! I was lucky enough to be a volunteer at the Open Day and managed to demonstrate the dry ice clouds with the fantastic Jess Wade, a PhD student at Imperial College in the EXSS (Experimental Solid State) Group.

Meeting the girls of Lampton School, a local school in my hometown was a nice surprise and most wanted to take Physics onto higher education thus making the day a success with lots of positive feedback!

I was able to help out with making 'a cloud in a bubble'. Here we have an experiment that you can do in schools provided you have some dry ice. Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide at a temperature of -79 °C - much colder than fridge! Dry ice has a special property, at room temperature it sublimes, meaning it skips out the liquid phase and goes straight from solid to gas. We add this dry ice to a bottle of water with a tube attached. When the dry ice encounters the water it sublimes and the carbon dioxide gas travel down the tube and can enter a washing up liquid solution. In here bubbles filled with carbon dioxide are made - and that's how you make a cloud in a bottle! Dry ice is used in films to give that witches' cauldron effect.

Superconductors and magnetic levitation

'Cloud in a bubble'

Jess Wade and dry ice!

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