Joyful Chemistry

Dancing while others sleep at the V&A.

Dancing while others sleep at the V&A.

Discovering a little about the tiniest constituents of our world and considering how we and they relate to the vastness of our universe is a joyful and enlivening pastime that can also help you feel at home. I know of no better artwork that celebrates this feeling than this one in the cast rooms of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

This exuberance was present at three workshops with local families, that I led in partnership with four chemistry researchers: Amaia; Claudia; Ignacio and Richard, at the new Imperial College campus in Shepherd’s Bush.

The chemistry was perfect and the images below tell the story.


Our invitation:

Our World of Atoms - An introduction to the Periodic Table of Elements. For families and children ages 7-11.

The world is made of tiny atoms and each type of atom has a place in the periodic table of elements. In this 2 hour workshop for children ages 7-11 we will explore the landscape of the periodic table, discover 4 elements, their constituents and their character - whether they are heavy, light, metal, gas, explosive or peace loving. We'll create collages to reveal how atoms combine to make the world we see around us and identify atoms by viewing beautiful light spectra. The origins of atoms will be one of our closing explorations. Everyone will leave with their own poster-book creation. Please bring your curiosity and imagination and join the Physics Department's artist in residence, Geraldine Cox and Imperial College physics and chemistry researchers.

A young participant’s rendering of setting fire to an explosive balloon of hydrogen.

A young participant’s rendering of setting fire to an explosive balloon of hydrogen.

Family table with atom collages.

Family table with atom collages.

Our kitchen through diffraction glasses - family photo.

Our kitchen through diffraction glasses - family photo.

Workshop one of three.

Workshop one of three.


“Molecule of the week” at the Imperial Centre Molecular Sciences Research Hub.

“Molecule of the week” at the Imperial Centre Molecular Sciences Research Hub.

“Africa” - the Albert Memorial, Hyde Park.

“Africa” - the Albert Memorial, Hyde Park.

My colourful journey of discovery continued as I made my way back to the Physics Department in South Kensington via an inorganic chemistry lab where I learnt about the “Molecule of the Week” and visited “Africa” at the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park.


The patterns keep coming and I close this entry with one for spring, to be printed on fine cotton.

Spring Double Dot Interference Pattern

Spring Double Dot Interference Pattern