A Derbyshire chemical firm has hailed its first-ever appearance at a national science festival as a success after it staff spent the week explaining how our modern world is shaped by millions and millions of molecules.
Lubrizol UK, based in Hazelwood, sent a strong contingent to the British Science Festival, which took place at the University of Warwick last week and was visited by hundreds of students, scientists and families.
The company, which is part of the wider American-owned Lubrizol Corporation, was one of the key sponsors of the event and took part as part of its ongoing programme of activity to inspire a younger generation, including young girls, to explore careers in STEM subjects – namely science, technology, engineering and maths.
Throughout the week it introduced visitors to the vast range of everyday objects that Lubrizol’s products are found in, from shampoos to trainers to engine fuels and lubricants.
Its staff also played science-themed games with students in a city centre bar, they were proud to introduce the Women in Technology talk given by the eminent science journalist Angela Saini and they got children to build chemical structures of chocolate, strawberries and soap out of building blocks.
And they even explained how even everyday experiences – such as the distinctive squeak of a trainer on a basketball court, the distinctive smell of new car leather to the slow speed of ketchup pouring from a bottle – are not there by accident, but are instead deliberately formulated by scientists creating molecules in order to satisfy consumer demand.
Simon Evans, OEM manager at Lubrizol, said: “We’d gone there to explain the vast range of careers that exist in the science and engineering industry but also to show just how much of what we take for granted has been created and supplied by science.
“People really enjoyed that bit. One of the best examples of this is the squeak of a trainer on a basketball court, which people think is an accident but isn’t. Instead, it’s created by the friction between the floor and a trainer with a sole containing a specific polymer which was developed specifically because some sports shoes manufacturers consider the squeak to be an essential part of the experience of playing sport indoors.
“Overall, it was a fantastic event, and we had a great experience, especially when we spent the day exploring science through play on the family day and doing a little myth-busting.”
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