Science Alive 2016

By Zoë Gamble and Becca Smithers

In March 2016, intrepid science made simple presenters Zoë and Becca travelled around the world to Hong Kong to present at the Science Alive festival. This year, the theme was ‘Impossible to Possible’, and the science made simple team put their heads together to come up with some exciting demonstrations of seemingly impossible things becoming possible. They even appeared on the Hong Kong news!



Before and after the festival, they had some time to explore the area, and the first thing they did was jump on the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong is a beautiful place, with some amazing views.


Exploring Hong Kong All Rights Reserved science made simple


View from The Peak. All Rights Reserved science made simple

There is an exciting tram which goes up a steep incline up to The Peak. The views from there are just amazing. This is a must-see if you ever get a chance to visit Hong Kong! Although going back down the hill backwards on the tram is not for the faint-hearted! The team even went up a cable car (with a glass bottom!) to see an enormous statue of a Buddha.



Exploring Hong Kong All Rights Reserved science made simple

Zoë and Becca developed a brand new science show called ‘Extraordinary Me’ especially for the Science Alive festival. They had a wonderful translator, Dorothy, who became an honorary member of the science made simple team! The show covers lots of things you might not know about yourself, such as how to find your eye dominance, or make a floating sausage appear before your eyes and how high your ears can hear. They even did a demonstration of the human digestive system live on stage, and set fire to butane-filled bubbles in a volunteer’s hands!

Finding out which eye is dominant! CC-BY-SA science made simple

Becca and Zoë were also invited to take part in the opening ceremony of the festival. They performed demonstrations with sodium polyacrylate (a water-absorbing chemical) and oobleck (a non-Newtonian fluid). Making impossible things possible!

Where did the water go?! CC-BY-SA science made simple


They also used a special material called D3O which is used in protective clothing. This material is normally soft and flexible, but when a force is applied, the molecules lock together, making it very strong. Becca covered an egg in D3O, and a volunteer came onto the stage to drop the egg onto the floor. Luckily, the D3O did it’s job and the egg survived!



As well as this, the science made simple team lead a soldering workshop, Madlab, for families and school groups. In this workshop, children (and some adults!) learn about electronic components and how to solder, and solder their own circuits they can take away with them.

Parents and children equally engrossed in soldering their circuits! CC-BY-SA science made simple


It was a tough job to lead 40 people in soldering, with the help of translators! But everyone had a great time and we had huge smiles when students connected a battery to their circuit and – success! We soldered two different circuits, one called ‘wonky wires’ and another called ‘bagpipes’.




Zoë and Becca performed the show and workshop for three days to an audience of several hundred children and adults. They had a wonderful time, and science made simple are honoured to have been so heavily involved in such a wonderful festival. We can’t wait for next year! Huge thanks to Science Alive for having us.

Becca and Zoë performing at Science Alive Hong Kong 2016 CC-BY-SA science made simple

Becca and Zoë performing at Science Alive Hong Kong 2016 CC-BY-SA science made simple

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