Engineering Network heightens curiosity with ‘Molecular Gastronomy’ at ‘Super Science Saturday’ for British Science Week’

As Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum played host to ‘Super Science Saturday’ last weekend as part of British Science Week, science enthusiasts of all ages joined the array of curious experiments provided by PhD students from the National Research Network (NRN) in Advanced Engineering and Materials (AEM) from Swansea University.

Funded by the NRN AEM ‘Molecular Gastronomy’ invited you in to a world of food and science, showcasing the chemical reactions behind the proteins, fats and alcohol levels that are in our everyday goods.

From building molecular structures with chickpeas to the chemically reactive English Breakfast the activities were an explosion of curiosity to get your scientific taste buds tingling.

 “The overall aim of the event was to challenge misconceptions about chemistry and the perception of science as boring and detached from everyday life showcased through experiments based on the wonders that occur daily in the kitchen.”  - Sephira Riva, NRN AEM, PhD Student

With over 200 children and adults visiting the stand throughout the afternoon the interactive hands on science proved to be a success with its sister stand ‘Water Tricks at the Waterfront’ similarly sparking the imagination of the next generation of budding scientists. Demonstrating a wide range of water tricks from a disappearing glass to creating your own edible sweet using cabbage juice these experiments allowed those big and small to discuss and engage with the science behind the magic, allowing chemistry techniques from light and invisibility to chromatography and colours to be demonstrated in a simplistic way.

We focused on showing chemical reactions taking place in water solutions - to the delight of children, siblings, parents and grandparents.  At each station, each child could perform his or her own experiment under our supervision and be supported by a detailed explanation to promote science knowledge in an engaging and simplified way.” – Sephira Riva, NRN AEM, PhD Student

Super Science Saturday 2

As British Science Week aims to celebrate everything science from across the breadth and depths of the STEM subjects, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – Super Science Saturday lent itself as the perfect opportunity for NRN AEM students to get science enthusiasts exposed to the important role science plays in our everyday lives and with a growing skills shortage within the STEM subjects it is essential to engage and influence this interest; something the NRN AEM is keen to promote.


“STEM outreach has the potential to shape the next generation of scientists. Demonstrations and activities challenge everyday ideals and engage children and adults alike - training curiosity as well as a sense of wonder whilst provoking critical thinking.

The NRN AEM provides a wide network of support and through it creating opportunities to reach out to scientists from diverse disciplines and ultimately develop outreach projects that tune to the needs of that particular community” – Francesco Mazzali, NRN AEM, PhD Student

British Science Week runs from the 10-19th March nationwide.

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  • Set up in 2013 the National Research Network (NRN) is a collaborative network, led by Swansea University in partnership with Cardiff University, Bangor University and TWI that seeks to bring academics and industrial leaders in the key fields of advanced engineering and materials, life sciences and low carbon energy and the environment together. Its primary purpose is to support the aspirations of the Welsh Government’s Science Strategy for Wales to establish an effective platform for breakthrough research in these fields. The Network gained £7M of funding from the Welsh Government and HEFCW as part of the Ser Cymru (Stars Wales) initiative | 

NB: The pictures show the activities, run by National Research Network (NRN) in Advanced Engineering and Materials (AEM) Swansea University, which took place on Super Science Saturday, National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.