Experiments in Einstein's Garden

By Becky Waldram and Tom Lewis 2 September 2015

On behalf of SPECIFIC, Bruce Rogers, Rachel Woods, Becky Waldram, Tom Lewis, Phil Ansell, Emily Speller and Richard ‘litter picker’ Lewis, ventured into Einstein’s Garden at Green Man Festival from 20th - 23rd August 2015 to share with the world what SPECIFIC has to offer in the sensational ‘Solar Shack’.

A range of different science related activities were completed over the weekend, including the manufacture and testing of miniature dye-sensitised solar cells, the powering of LED’s using Voltaic piles made from coins and washers, and edible models of the layers of a typical PV cell. Other activities included building molecular structures from sweets and cocktail sticks, and decorating recycled aluminium cans as selected elements from the periodic table.

There were a large number of children present at the festival and hopefully, somewhere in the amazing range of science on display in Einstein’s Garden, there was something to inspire many of them to become the next generation of scientists and engineers. Hundreds of Swansea University branded canvas bags and sweets were distributed to the festival goers to further encourage these potential minds of the future.

Although the weather wasn’t perfect for the ‘Solar Shack’ to be operating at full power, there was plenty to allow us to keep all our phones charged for the duration of the festival, much to the envy of both the public and the neighbouring stall holders. We did our best to negotiate a better weather forecast from the Met Office in exchange for access to our Wi-Fi hotspot, unfortunately they didn’t hold up their end of the bargain!

Despite the mainly wet weather, there were some moments of sunshine, showing the true beauty of the local landscape. This finally encouraged the public to leave their tents to come and visit us – there was definitely significant correlation between the weather conditions and the number of people visiting the stand!

Overall it was a well spent 4 days of interacting with a wide variety of members of the public, and hopefully we have sparked an interest in all things science for kids and adults alike.


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