David Bradley shared a link the other day that cost us a couple of hours already this weekend – he pointed us to the periodic table of videos by the wonderful people at Nottingham University. This is a series of videos explaining and demonstrating the properties of elements. These really are fun for all ages since the demonstrations often – predictably – involve burning things and setting off explosions. It’s obvious that the presenters also have fun with this when you see them giggling like schoolboys, for example in the Sodium video. Pete is definitely one of my son’s favourite characters now. (There’s plenty more excellent stuff on the Nottingham Science Channel.)
After we watched our way through Hydrogen, Helium, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon, Sulfur, Chlorine, Calcium, Sodium and Lithium (I probably forgot one), we eventually got to Beryllium. About half way through, a link popped up promising more on an experiment mentioned in the video that was carried out at the synchrotron at MAX-lab in Lund, Sweden. Naturally, given where I work, I had to see this. And I have to say that this is so far the most engaging description of an experiment at a synchrotron I’ve seen.
Surface chemistry experiment at MAXlab in Lund, Sweden
Stephen Curry also filmed an experiment last year – his was at the Diamond Light Source. This also gives a nice impression of work at a synchrotron (…and of what it would be like to be grilled by Stephen if he’s your professor).
But I like the older video from late 2008 more, where Stephen explains his work in a bit more detail.
Stephen Curry on his work on Foot and Mouth Disease and X-ray crystallography
If you ask me, these types of videos are the way to go if you want to explain your science. Blogs are for everything else around that.