Guest lecture at the Australian Catholic University

G-day ACU!

Thank you again for the invitation to speak at the Australian Catholic University and the opportunity to show all you soon-to-be primary and high school teachers some nifty demos that you will all hopefully enjoy doing with your pupils in your terrific teaching careers. Below are all those links I promised.

Best regards, good luck with your studies and see you out there in a school some time in the not too distant future!


Ruben at ACU

Intro stuff:

Surfing Scientist my ABC Web page (Tricks, Demos, Lesson Plans, Conundrums)

Roller Coaster ABC Television’s afternoon programming for kids (2005 – 2009)

Prof Slo & Dr Mo: Slot Car + Sparkler + Hydrogen Balloon (YouTube) 

Studio 3 some clips (including Liquid Nitrogen + 1500 ping pong balls)

Play School science activity segments

Prof Julius Sumner Miller’s “Why is it so?”  ABC Science Online website with clips

“The Curiosity Show” opening credits  YouTube clip to remind you

Christmas Lectures for Children  Royal Institution video archive

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki’s website

Good excuses for being optimistic:

“The Better Angels of Our Nature”  that book about peace Professor Steven Pinker (2011)

Steven Pinker’s TED Talk about his book and an even better 30 min summary here

“The surprising decline in violence”  Steven Pinker’s 20min TED Talk

“The Mean IQ of Americans: Massive Gains 1932 to 1978″ James Flynn (1984) Psychological Bulletin Vol. 95 No. 1     The original paper that led to the term “The Flynn Effect”

The Flynn Effect  people are getting  smarter (summary of the hypotheses by Dr Jonathan Plucker, Indiana University)

 Some very big unanswered questions in science:

The Immortal Life Henrietta Lacks book by Rebecca Skloot

Prof Elizabeth Blackburn’s Nobel Lecture  Why do we die?

“A Universe From Nothing” Lawrence Krauss’s book about how a Universe can pop out of nothing

“A Universe From Nothing” YouTube video of Lawrence Krauss’s lecture that led to his book

NOAO’s High Res Solar Spectrum the “missing” black lines in Sunlight compared to those missing in light from distant stars tells us that the universe is expanding > more about Fraunhofer lines > more about Red Shift 

There are plenty more unanswered questions in science like where and how did life begin / why do we need sleep / what causes ageing / where did all the water molecules on planet Earth come from… if we ever want to discover the answers, we need more kids doing science.

The demonstrations and experiments

1. Pencils through a plastic bag full of water

> Turtle eating jellyfish video

> Turtle eating plastic video

My ABC TV Catalyst story about turtles

Anja Taylor’s ABC TV Catalyst story about plastic in oceans

2. Plastic bottle lids in water (no link for this demo)

> Chris Jordan’s photos of dead seabirds full of plastic

3. Magic Flowers

4. M&Ms in Water (including Play School clip)

> NOTE: Wilhelmina uses Skittles plus a sugar cube in the middle > excellent idea!

5. Seeing Infrared

6. Tumblewing Gliders

> Hammer & Feather Drop on the moon NASA Video

> The Science Toy Maker’s website has lots more air surfing gizmos to make

7. Toroidal Vortex Gun (cardboard box instead of bin works fine)

> NASA Wingtip vortex testing video

Blow bubble rings underwater

> Food dye in water

> ABC Catalyst story about bubble rings

> Sea World Orlando dolphins blowing bubble rings

8. Mentos + Diet Coke

“On the Losses of Dissolved CO2 During Champagne Serving” Gerard Liger-Belair et al (2010) Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry Vol. 58

“Uncorked: The Science of Champagne” book by Gerard Liger-Belair (2004)

“Diet Coke and Mentos: What is really behind this physical reaction?” Tonya S Coffey (2008)  American Journal of Physics Vol. 76 No. 6   [ Note: downloading this paper requires journal subscription which your school may have ]

Background and a fascinating discussion about Diet Coke + Mentos by Tonya Coffey [ no subscription required ]

First Diet Coke + Mentos demo on TV (Lee Marek in 1999 on David Letterman) Lee’s whole website is worth exploring  these blokes make a living from the Mentos & Diet Coke reaction!! More evidence that we live in a wonderfully weird world!

9. The science of weight loss

The Mathematics of Weight Loss this is my TEDxQUT talk about what really happens to a fat molecule when you are losing weight


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