Do your festive dinners need spicing up?

Fancy some science tricks to wow the guests around the Christmas dinner table with? Chemistry World has put together a small collection of videos that should help keep the kiddywinks quiet, wake up the snoozers and amuse even the more cynical table guests. If you like them let us know and if you have other tricks and experiments to share then tweet us or leave us a comment.

First up, the ever reliable Richard Wiseman of Quirkology fame. He’s put together 10 interesting table top challenges and tricks, including a tea bag rocket – don’t set fire to the curtains!

The next set of videos include a number of tricks and interesting scientific phenomena tailored for children, with simple explanations of exactly what’s going on.

And here’s another video from Richard with another 10 tricks including creating a fire extinguisher from baking soda and vinegar.

And if you’ve got any sticky tape or sugar left over, why not check out the phenomenon of triboluminescence, whereby light is emmitted when a material is pulled apart, ripped, scratched, crushed or rubbed? The phenomenon is still not completely understood but is thought to be due to electrical charges being separated and then recombining, with an electrical discharge.

Finally, one more from the prolific Dr Wiseman where he uses just milk, food colours and soap to produce dynamic colourful patterns reminiscent of the beautiful Belousov-Zhabotinsky reactions (video at bottom of the page).

Why not also check out our blog on that perennial Christmas table favourite the crystal tree and the chemistry behind it. There’s further Christmas themed blogs to be found here, where you can learn why snowflakes have six points, what linked Faraday with candles and what exactly are frankincense and myrrh. Happy Christmas and new year from all at Chemistry World!

Patrick Walter

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