Saturday, 22 October 2016

Christmas lectures: Day 6

So, the first week is over, and I have to say I'm pretty tired. London, plus the hour commute each way takes a bit of getting used to. But it's going good.

Annoyingly the IT system at the Ri doesn't seem to like me very much! Something went wrong when I first arrived and all of the calendar invites I got sent before I arrived got deleted! So its been a week of trying to get people to resend things, as well as finding out I'm supposed to be places at the last minute. It all worked out in the end though!

So, stuff I have been doing. I've written my first 2 press releases for local media in Edinburgh and Gloucestershire. Neither of them have actually gone to the press yet, but they will do hopefully next week. We're trying to get people excited for a show based on the 2014 xmas lectures that is going to Edinburgh December 1st this year (so if you know anyone with kids in the area...). I've also helped to sort out and proof read a new section of the website that is going live on Monday - I'll put up a link once it's up. There is a bunch of really awesome heritage video's about old science stuff, some of it relevant to some of my science friends.

I'm also helping to organise a bursary which gets kids who could never normally afford to come to the Lectures, which is nice to do. And setting up surveys, and hopefully next week I'll start up the instagram again so you can all follow cool pictures from behind the scenes. 

I also got to meet the lecturer himself, Prof. Saiful Islam. He is genuinely lovely and very interesting, and I think he's going to be a great lecturer. 

And finally, one of the coolest part of the week, I got to go see the archives of the Ri. If you come to the Ri itself, down in the basement there is an awesome science museum with loads of cool stuff in, including the first crystallography machine, various original electrical generators and also the first ever isolated samples of the elements discovered in the Ri back in the days of research:

Potassium – isolated from caustic potash by Humphry Davy in 1807 using electrolysis.
Sodium – Humphry Davy first isolated sodium in 1807 from molten sodium hydroxide.
Barium – isolated by electrolysis of molten barium salts by Humphry Davy in 1808.
Boron – discovered by Humphry Davy who first used electrolysis to produce a brown precipitate from a solution of borates in 1808. He produced enough of the substance to identify it as an element but pure boron was not produced until 1909.
Calcium – isolated by Humphry Davy in 1808 from a mixture of lime and mercuric oxide using electrolysis.
Chlorine – Elemental chlorine was discovered in 1774 but was thought to be a compound and was called "dephlogisticated muriatic acid air". Humphry Davy named it chlorine in 1810 after experimenting with it and declared it was an element.

I got to go behind the scenes, actually stand in Faradays old lab (not a replica, the actual lab), and see the hidden archive room which included cool things like the original worlds largest pencil (it has since been usurped by another one), a piece of original meteorite, and original letters and books written by some of the most highly prestigious scientists in history.
So all in all week one has gone well. Everyone has been really lovely, and I'm looking forward to next week and seeing what it has to bring. 

It's lovely to hear from everyone by the way, thank you for the comments left, they make me smile!

No comments:

Post a Comment