News » Exploding custard covers the nation!

Scifest Africa, South Africa’s National Science Festival, has issued a warning of strange phenomena set to hit schools, universities, science centres and museums countrywide. Exploding custard, water changing into wine, and water cooler bottles that go “woof!” are just some of the “troubles” predicted by experts at the festival office in Grahamstown.

These as yet unexplained phenomena form part of a unique nationwide tour presented by Dr Stephen Ashworth of the University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich, UK, that aims to raise the public awareness and understanding of chemistry and physics, and to encourage the youth of South Africa to pursue careers in science.

The Kitchen Chemistry Outreach Tour will see Ashworth presenting science shows and educator workshops that use inexpensive consumables available from a supermarket, pharmacy, hardware store or recycling depot, and accessible equipment, to teach topics in the Physical Sciences curriculum. Physics content, including “The Light Fantastic”, “Sound of Science”, and “Spectroscopy in a Suitcase” will also be on offer. The tour, sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and presented in collaboration with the UEA and Scifest Africa, starts off in East London on Wednesday, and will travel to all nine provinces between January and April 2013.

Scifest Africa Director, Anja Fourie, says the demand for Scifest Africa to promote science and mathematics amongst learners and educators who cannot afford to visit the festival, or who find themselves in areas where resources and educator support are poorest, has seen the project grow to include national outreach projects such as the Kitchen Chemistry tour. “This growing demand means we constantly need to develop quality interactive educational programmes and resources, and we welcome the opportunity to work with experienced science communicators such as Stephen.”

Ashworth, who has worked and toured extensively in South Africa since 2008, brings with him 14 years experience as a science communicator. It was his passion for science, teaching and outreach that led to his decision to take a three month sabbatical to support learners and educators in South Africa that do not have access to laboratories or chemicals. “I want learners to see that science is truly all around us, excite them about science outside the classroom in a manner that is accessible, interactive and fun, and show them that anyone can be a scientists, no matter who you are and where you come from”, says Ashworth.

The Kitchen Chemistry tour will culminate with science shows and workshops presented by Ashworth at the 2013 festival to be held in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape from 13-19 March. Scifest Africa is attended by 72,000 visitors from around Southern Africa and offers a quality programme featuring more than 500 interactive events, including lectures, Talkshops, demonstrations, science shows, exhibitions and workshops, as well as other unique events such as the Afrobot Robotics Tournament, Green Fund Run, a hobbies fair, laser show, murder mysteries, a satellite-building competition, science Olympics, a soap box derby, and the Speed Date a Scientist series.

NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL
VILLAGE GREEN FAIR
SCIFEST AFRICA
Leading the way in the development and exposure of science in South Africa.
SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS FESTIVALS
Youth Empowerment Through the Arts
EASTERN CAPE EISTEDDFOD
Bringing People Together on Stage
ENGLISH OLYMPIAD
Enrichment Through English
SHAKESPEAR SOCIETY OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
MAKANA EDUTOURISM PROJECT
The driving force behind travel for education in the Makana region.
AMAPHIKO TOWNSHIP DANCE PROJECT

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