Exploding cake marks first anniversary of the Periodic Table of Videos

26 Jun 2009 00:01:00.000

PA 178/09

Take a university laboratory, a handful of chemicals, and a scientist from the School of Chemistry - mix them together and you have created a cake to celebrate the 1st anniversary of the hugely successful Periodic Table of Videos.

An off-shoot of the award-winning Test-Tube project

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Tables charting the chemical elements have been around since the 19th century — but their modern version features a short video about each one. With one hundred and seventy two videos, 174 now the two exploding birthday cake videos have been added, the site has become a massive YouTube success.  With 14,000 subscribers worldwide it has had between six to seven million video views.

To celebrate their achievements the team recruited the laboratory skills of Dr Sam Tang, the University’s Public Awareness Scientist, to create the cake. But as a cake baked in the lab cannot be eaten it met a more chemically induced fate in a controlled explosion.

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Professor Poliakoff said: “Making the videos has been great fun.  It has been really pleasing to reach such a wide audience and to excite them about chemistry.”

This week Test Tube hit 2,000 subscribers and its 200th video will likely be posted in the next few days.

Test Tube and the Periodic Table of Videos have been awarded a long list of accolades for bringing to life a host of science and engineering subjects in an entertaining and accessible way.  Driven by the creative talents of Nottingham Science City filmmaker-in-residence Brady Haran, they have triumphed at the International Business Awards, Nottingham Creative Business Awards 2008, the CIPR PRide Awards, the CorpComms UK 2008 Award and the 2008 Excellence in Education Award of the IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers).

Brady Haran said: “I always thought working with scientists would be enjoyable and rewarding —but I had no idea it would also be such a laugh. I can't think of a more fitting way to mark our first birthday than dousing a cake in liquid oxygen and putting a match to it. It shows what we're all about — educating and entertaining people in ways they don't expect and doing it with a cheeky grin on our faces."

The site has now spawned a similar website for Physics. Brady has teamed up with scientists in the building next door to make a series of videos about physics and astronomy.

You can see them at www.sixtysymbols.com

— Ends —

Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.  The School of Chemistry was ranked No 2 in the UK.  Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.

The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.

Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Martyn Poliakoff on +44 (0)115 951 3520, martyn.poliakoff@nottingham.ac.uk or Brady Haran , brady.haran@gmail.com
Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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