Electrolysis of Water: with Pencils and a 9V Battery

H₂O might be the most familiar chemical compound on the planet. Many people know that water is H₂O, but most wouldn't think about what that means in a chemical sense. Water is a remarkable molecule made of two Hydrogen atoms bound to a single Oxygen atom: H, H, and O. Water's special properties give us life... Continue Reading →

Astronomy Resources for Teachers

I've started a page with some links, facts and ideas for teachers, educators and anyone else that wants them. Quite often when I’m visiting schools, I throw lots of URLs around and talk about websites, books, etc that kids and teachers might like. Then I often forget to give them these URLs and tips. So now... Continue Reading →

Infrared: The Hidden Classroom

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Tower Hill School (in Witney) to talk about astronomy, space and science. The kids were brilliant and asked awesome questions as usual. For this visit I took the department's infrared camera - which really was the star of the show. Before I took the camera to the classroom... Continue Reading →

Answers for Allensbank

The other week I gave a talk at Allensbank Primary School - a nearby school for children aged 4 to 11. I mainly told them about the planets and the Solar System but obviously we got onto other topics too. We had a fun questions and answers session at the end but there is never... Continue Reading →

Exploring Liquids: An Experiment

Here’s a fun experiment you can try using the contents of your kitchen cupboard. Explore the effects of different densities and learn about refraction, viscosity and the planet Jupiter. You’ll need five different liquids; I used golden syrup, dishwashing liquid, water, alcohol and vegetable oil. I also used some food colouring to make it easier... Continue Reading →

Glowing Samples

I’ve not much to say about this other than that it is a very cool image. I took it on Wednesday during Cardiff University’s Dragonfly Day. As well as making our own spectrometers there was also an experiment to deduce the contents of several mystery cups. All were white or see-through liquids. Using just their... Continue Reading →

Air Pressure and Coke Cans

I recently did a piece on measuring the speed of light using your microwave. Well here is some more physics you can play with in your kitchen. This time let’s create a vacuum and then use it to crush something. I like crushing things. Don’t we all? What you will need: A regular drinks can... Continue Reading →

Measure the Speed of Light Using Your Microwave

Astronomers studying star formation, like myself, use telescopes that can see though the pretty, optical exteriors of nebulae into the dark interiors where very cold dust radiates in the submillimetre and microwave regimes. Microwaves, fall on the electromagnetic spectrum, between radio waves and infrared waves. They are usually around the size of a few centimetres... Continue Reading →

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