October 31st, 2014
What do you get when you mix potassium and ether with a little water… and add the lively mind of a seven-year-old?
A burst of flame and heat… and a huge grin.
American second-grader Adele Rouse put on safety glasses and a lab coat to watch the fire water experiment during a visit to the School of Chemistry.
Adele is a huge fan of a series of smash-hit videos made at the University. ‘Fire water’ is one of Adele’s favourites and the team behind The Periodic Table of Videos — a YouTube sensation with more than 61 million views – was delighted to set up the experiment.
Adele was visiting Nottingham as part of a trip to the UK with her parents Kathryn and Jeremy Rouse, both mathematicians at Wake Forest University, North Carolina.
Kathryn said: “Adele was just four years old when she started watching the Periodic Table of Videos on YouTube and she enjoys watching them over and over.
“Getting to meet the team behind the videos is such a big deal for Adele — it’s really the equivalent for her of getting to meet all the princesses at Disneyworld.”
And Adele’s response to meeting her heroes and joining them in lab where many of the videos are filmed: “Wow! That’s really cool!”
Her fascination with all things chemistry started while learning about the chemical elements as part of a home school pre-school programme.
Dr Samantha Tang, a Public Awareness Scientist in the School of Chemistry and part of the Periodic Table of Videos team, said: “Meeting Adele, our youngest ever fan to visit us, is a massive privilege for us.
“Chemistry is by its very nature both fascinating and exciting and knowing that the videos which we are making are helping to switch kids like Adele on to this amazing subject gives us a real buzz and makes it all worthwhile.”
Neil Barnes, a senior technician and familiar face on the videos, was also delighted to meet Adele. “I never expected to be an internet sensation,” he said, “but Adele’s is just the kind of reaction we love and we hope to carry on inspiring future scientists and chemists.”
Adele said: “It was really cool being in the lab where some of the videos are made.” She added that one day she’d like to be scientist – or perhaps a mathematician like mum and dad.
She is not the first fan to drop in to visit the team — in 2012 10-year-old Edoardo Bandieri from Modena in Italy travelled to Nottingham to meet Professor Martyn Poliakoff, the star of the videos, who was unfortunately away and unable to meet Adele.
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