Gunge for Grown-ups
It’s my second day at Science Oxford, and I’m already working an event – and not a straightforward, turn up, smile and take tickets on the door kind of event, oh no! Gunge for Grown-ups is a slime-sticking-your-palms-together, bubbles-the-size-of-poodles and flaming teabags, ascending towards the lighting rigging at the Pegasus Theatre kind of event.
This is the first time Gunge has been run, and it’s exciting seeing unseen ideas coming together in this darkly atmospheric venue. The bubbles are opalescent against the black curtains and captivating flames erupt seemingly from nowhere, like glittering phoenixes.
We now have several phoenixes, a minefield of sinking sands and shaving foam works of art. Our STEM ambassadors and team wade through, handing out blue roll and refilling cups of glue. There is no reverent silence here, but a storm of energetic chatter: the trial seems to be going well, and everyone is getting stuck in and sticky.
For future Gunges we may have different themes, but for this one we begin with three popular topics: bubbles, gunge and fire. There are several bubble challenges, from making bubbles inside bubbles to giant bubbles and hanging bubbles; we test the limits of surface tension and mix paint into foam.
The gunge itself consists of homemade slime and non-Newtonian oobleck mixture; we also make alginate gels and put food colouring in our slime to make it more closely resemble troll’s snot.
Then we create fire, dancing flames, flying teabags and put it out again with homemade fire extinguishers.
Then, whilst the ashes drift back to earth, we ask our audience what more they want from us, and what else we could do. And they say – more science!