Last week Suzie Sheehy (STFC ASTeC and University of Oxford) once again took to the main stage at the Big Bang Fair at the NEC in Birmingham, co-presenting the headline show alongside TV presenter and food writer Stefan Gates and mathematician Dr. Hannah Fry (UCL).
The show, called ‘Gastronaut and the Quantum Mechanical Chocolate Factory’ was performed to a 1500-seat audience 8 times during the week, to a total audience of over 10,000. Suzie’s segment this year was a real challenge in science communication, presenting quantum mechanics concepts to children as young as 10 or 11 years old. But food came to the rescue as the team developed quantum mechanical fluorescent jelly strings, a giant atom model and a crowd-pleasing glowing phosphorescent wall. Not to mention Suzie’s liquid nitrogen finale creating instant strawberry flavoured clouds.
The show was the third headline show that Stefan and Suzie have presented together, this year described as ‘a fantastic Wonkaesque show in which maths is beautiful, science is amazing, technology is spectacular and engineering is wrapped in chocolate.’ The feedback so far has been incredible. A particular favourite of Suzie’s was the audience member who tweeted the team afterwards saying “Great show today. My 11yo was using your glowing demo to explain quantum physics to her gran!”
Suzie showing glowing jelly strings and beautiful fluorescent swirls
Suzie discussing the quantum nature of atomic energy levels with Stefan Gates
Instant strawberry clouds, Left: Dr. Suzie Sheehy, Centre: Stefan Gates, Right: Dr. Hannah Fry
End of the show. (L to R: Suzie, Stefan and Hannah)
Suzie talking to some audience members after the show, smelling the strawberry cloud