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Stephen Ashworth at SciFest Africa

The Kitchen Chemist, our very own Dr Stephen H. Ashworth, has returned safely from another hectic couple of weeks in Grahamstown at Scifest Africa, the South African National Science Festival and was honoured to be selected for a short spot at the opening ceremony before the Minister for Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, and other VIPs and guests. After the festival he contributed a two days outreach to schoolchildren and an educator workshop at the Department of Education in Port Elizabeth, and three shows for schools near the Johnson Matthey chemical plant in Germiston, Johannesburg.

During Scifest Africa Dr Ashworth performed his well-received science shows, Kitchen Chemistry: Seconds, and The Sound of Science to large audiences including appearances in the iRhini township festival and the satellite science festival in Uitenhage.  He also ran two workshops every day: Make your own slime, and Spectroscopy in a Suitcase. The thirty participants in the former made samples of slime and tested how far it would stretch without breaking. In the latter the participants (up to thirty again) saw a working spectrometer (from the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Spectroscopy in a Suitcase) and made a spectroscope to take away.

Dr Ashworth’s other contributions to Scifest were science busking at a couple of Sunset Shows, the Start Party, the Science Picnic in the Botanical Gardens, and in Church Square in the centre of town. He also played the villain in the murder mystery. His character worked for the Russian state nuclear company whose technology was “safe, cheap and rrreliable”.