Solving a murder mystery and completing a top-level intergalactic mission are all in a day's work as the University of Plymouth shows local school pupils that there’s more to chemistry than Bunsen burners and periodic tables.
The University will welcome over 100 11-13 year olds from 24 schools across Devon and Cornwall and Somerset next week as it hosts the annual Salters' Festival of Chemistry (Tuesday 28 and Thursday 30 April 2009).
Organised and led by Plymouth's resident stand-up chemist, Roy 'Rocket man' Lowry will do what he does best, enthusing students about science in his own unique way. Amongst the hands-on activities, the pupils will put their forensic skills to the test as they find out 'who dunnit', before 'boldly going where no man has gone before' to design a new cooling system for the dilithium crystals aboard the Starship Enterprise.
The event will culminate with a bang as Lowry treats the pupils to his famed pyrotechnics routine which involves flames, smoke and the torturing of an innocent jelly baby.
Before home-time, the budding young chemists will take part in a prize giving with individual prizes for everyone taking part and school prizes for the winning teams.
Roy Lowry said; "There's so much more to chemistry than many young people realise. It's not just about balancing equations and wearing a lab coat and goggles. This event will show pupils that chemistry is loud, explosive, fun and useful, but crucially how important it is and some of the exciting careers that it can lead to."
The Salters' Festivals of Chemistry are an initiative of the Salters' Institute, whose aim is to promote the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences among young people. The Festival at the University of Plymouth is one of a series of 55 taking place across the UK and Republic of Ireland between March and June 2009.