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Flaming custard - Norwich scientist to take chemistry show to South Africa

PUBLISHED: 12:58 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:58 31 July 2018

Dr Stephen Ashworth, from the University of East Anglia, holding his Kitchen Chemistry science show. Picture: Michael Salzwedel

Dr Stephen Ashworth, from the University of East Anglia, holding his Kitchen Chemistry science show. Picture: Michael Salzwedel

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An award-winning Norwich scientist will be taking a kitchen chemistry show to children in South Africa.

Dr Stephen Ashworth, from the University of East Anglia, holding his Kitchen Chemistry science show. Picture: Michael SalzwedelDr Stephen Ashworth, from the University of East Anglia, holding his Kitchen Chemistry science show. Picture: Michael Salzwedel

Dr Stephen Ashworth, a reader in chemistry at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, will be visiting the country to show disadvantaged children his Kitchen Chemistry project.

He will visit rural and township schools with the show, which uses everyday materials and simple equipment to demonstrate basic chemical principles.

The academic was recognised by the Royal Society of Chemistry earlier this month with an Inspirational Member Award for his ongoing work.

Dr Ashworth said: “There is something about a colour change, a burst of flame, or an excessively messy process that appeals to children, and adults too for that matter. It is unfortunate that we tend to remember the flash and not the reason for the flash.

“My aim is to inspire children but also help educators and science centre staff to teach practical chemistry confidently, enhancing their lessons. The areas that I’ll be visiting are generally resource poor rural and township schools so I’m hoping the low-cost experiments I’ll demonstrate will be valuable for them to use in the long-term.”

He will fly out in August, and will be visiting schools in the Durban area of KwaZulu-Natal province, as well as training staff at the Unizulu Science Centre in Richard’s Bay.

His aim is to increase interest in science, specifically chemistry, among disadvantaged secondary school children around the world, encouraging them to consider science courses in further and higher education.

Kitchen Chemistry was first developed in 2010, and is a series of demonstrations such as the whoosh bottle - so called because of the noise made by a flame involved - and the flaming custard demonstration, which shows the energy in a spoonful of cornflour.

It is part of a string of outreach events Dr Ashworth takes part in, both across the UK and further afield in countries such as Malaysia, Mauritius and Mozambique.

Dr Ashworth will be tweeting during his trip using the Twitter handle @Kitchen_Chem


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