On Saturday we were at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) again, offering visitors a chance to Meet The Cosmochemists.
MOSI’s Meet The Scientist takes place once a month (usually on the first Saturday). Each month a different group of scientists and engineers runs demonstrations and interactive activities for all the family.
We provided a range of things do so that all ages could have fun and learn something about cosmochemistry. Younger visitors (or those who just wanted to sit down for a while!) were kept busy naming and colouring the planets, along with trying to solve space-themed word searches, dot-to-dots and mazes. Large samples of meteorites were available for visitors to examine so they could learn about the different materials we find in meteorites. These different components tell us how our solar system has evolved over the last 4.5 billion years ago to the present day.
We also had some samples that could be viewed through a microscope. People were fascinated by the pretty colours they saw and we had many incorrect, but interesting and imaginative guesses as to what they might be looking at, ranging from butterflies to stained glass windows. One girl appeared disappointed that they were not fossilised dinosaur poo! But she was soon excited again when she learnt what it really was she was looking at – very thin slices (thin sections) of meteorites! When these are viewed using crossed polarised light the different minerals produce lots of different colours. This is a very useful tool used by geologists to study the mineral composition of both meteorites and terrestrial rocks (plus they look pretty!).
A large group of local Beaver Scouts were also visiting MOSI on Saturday, and at times we were inundated with 7-8 year old boys all scrabbling to look down the microscope, which all added to the fun of the day!