Science communication

12 March 2015

At Cafe Scientifique yesterday evening, Dr Samantha Tang from the School of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham explained how to use online videos and live demonstrations to communicate science. 

Tang is among the invited team of speakers from the UK visiting Hong Kong for two weeks to conduct lectures and activities at Science Alive 2015. She was still energetic after delivering two interactive lectures at the Hong Kong Science Museum the same afternoon.

During her presentation, Tang introduced Periodic Videos, a YouTube channel produced by a team of enthusiastic and passionate scientists at the University of Nottingham. “Sometimes you just want to do dangerous things,” she said while playing videos of explosive experiments, “showing videos is a good way to illustrate the principles and to inspire people to enjoy chemistry.”

Tang then handed out two vials and invited the audience to smell the difference between the vials. She demonstrated how the spatial arrangement of groups around a chiral carbon gave the organic compounds distinct properties like smell, and related this important concept of chirality to medicinal drug development. She used dry ice to introduce sublimation and its explosive effects, and moved on to carbon capture and storage.

At the end of her presentation, Tang discussed with science teachers in the audience about teaching and learning chemistry in the classroom. She also commented that students in Hong Kong appeared to be more engaged in her demonstration lectures, although less outspoken than students in the UK. Activities like these showcased in Science Alive 2015 would certainly inspire local teachers and parents to teach science more interactively, while having fun with their students and children at the same time.

Science Alive is jointly organised by the British Council, the Hong Kong Science Museum, the Education Bureau and the Hong Kong Education City Limited, and sponsored by the Croucher Foundation. Every year for the past 22 years, Science Alive has invited leading UK academics and communicators in the various fields of science to engage Hong Kong’s students, teachers and the public in activities that promote a wider understanding of science. For more information click here.