Sarah, pictured, created secret messages using turmeric and washing soda solutions, showing how much chemistry is involved in our lives every day. There were also opportunities to create Rangoli patterns using natural pigments and pen chromatography.
Lucy Tetley, Royal Society of Chemistry education coordinator for the north east said: “This is the first time the Royal Society of Chemistry have come to the Newcastle Mela and we had a fantastic 2 days and met hundreds of fascinated people at our stands. The Chemistry of Curry activity we put on tested people’s sense of smell and showed that the way we interpret smells is down to the molecules present in the ingredient, showing the chemistry all around us.
“We’re celebrating our 175th anniversary this year and events like the Mela help us to show the diversity and inclusivity of science. It really is something anyone can be interested in and we love showing people how much fun they can have with it, whether that’s with their kids or other adults.”
Another activity, Colours in Culture, compared traditional, natural pigments with more modern, vibrant synthetic pigments. Children got stuck in, using the pigments to create Rangoli street art on the ground using stencils.
Saif; aged 16 said, “It’s good to see Chemistry at the Mela, getting the chance to try a hands-on experience that is actually linked to Asian culture. It has made me look forward to starting my Chemistry A-level next week!”
Another event attendee said: “I was really interested in science at school but haven’t done anything like this for years. We all had fun doing the chromatography and would definitely like to see more of this sort of activity at the Mela in future”.
17 members of the Royal Society of Chemistry, who volunteered their time to help out at the event, staffed the stand. Rishi, a regulatory affairs consultant from Newcastle found that volunteering was a great opportunity to get involved with some fun, hands-on science. “Bringing the Chemistry of Curry into the community has brought out the competitive spirit in couples! The children have really enjoyed making Rangoli; a lot haven’t seen this activity before. Overall the whole process has been a massive success!” he said.
The Royal Society of Chemistry’s education coordinators are based all over the UK and Ireland, offering education support and outreach activities all year round. Find your local representative at www.rsc.li/education-coordinators.
To celebrate their 175th anniversary, the Royal Society of Chemistry asked all their members and supporters around the world to dedicate 175 minutes of their time to chemistry, and to share their stories. From inspiring people through outreach and education to exploring what membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry can do for you, there are loads of opportunities to take part. Follow the #Time4Chem hashtag on twitter for more information and examples of what other people have been doing.