Lab man’s rocket science lunch club

Roger Hartley and pupil Jordan Ingham
Roger Hartley and pupil Jordan Ingham
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A CAEDMON lab technician decided that the best way to review a new science book would be for him to conduct a series of experiments, with the aid of some pupils.

Roger Hartley runs the Caedmon Science Club at lunchtimes and said that bringing the textbook alive by conducting such experiments would be a great way for children to get enthused about science.

He added: “Practical work in science is probably more important now than it’s ever been. It’s what’s going to enthuse them so they go on to become scientists. Seeing something go flash-bang is really what captures their imagination.”

Using an experiment from the book, Mr Hartley showed the children how to make batteries using just two-pence coins, kitchen foil and some vinegar.

Mr Hartley started the science club to prove that rocket science does not have to be impossible and he proved this by showing the children basic chemistry experiments, such as firing fizzy pop bottles across the classroom.

Schoolboy Science Remembered is a new book by Dr Keith Souter and Mr Hartley has reviewed it for the Gazette.

He said: “Dr Souter writes with an easy style that veils the subject’s complexity.

“His heroes, the old chemistry teacher Prang, Sherlock Holmes and Patrick Moore help lead us from one discovery to another.

“With their help we find our way from “The Kitchen Laboratory” to the quantum theory, we pass through cooking chemistry, many good “Eggsperiments”, atomic theory and the periodic table, acids and alkalis, and DNA to name but a few.

“This book is so much more than a list of tricks, experiments and illusions; it would give any reader a good grounding in basic science. So much so that chapters such as “Magnetism and Electricity” could have come straight out of the year 7 curriculum.

“If I had owned this book at the age of 12 I would undoubtedly have been banished to the shed at the end of the yard and I would have loved every minute of it.”

Schoolboy Science Remembered is published by Pen and Sword Books for £14.99.