How not to do the methane bubbles demo

Funnily enough, only today Paul and I were discussing the importance of jeopardy in demos, and how the ‘best’ moments (particularly for children’s audiences) are often when things ‘go wrong.’ This isn’t quite what we had in mind.

What I don’t understand is why the bubbles are being lit on the ceiling. Typically, the methane bubble demo is done with a volunteer’s hands well wetted with the soap solution, and the bubbles lit on their hands. The perceived jeopardy is very much to the volunteer. It’s a lovely routine for building trust and establishing the purpose of exploring science (you get to do things to the world that are worth doing, and nobody dies). Setting up the demo in the way shown here is, I think, less impressive and less useful.

Still, at least the fire suppression works.

(via io9.org)

One thought on “How not to do the methane bubbles demo”

  1. I first knew the demo where you light bubbles rising through the air. Perhaps this is what they were attempting to emulate.
    Lighting the methane on your (or a volunteer’s hand) is considerably more theatrical. I’ll take it over the rising bubble on most, but not all occasions.

    As for making memories, I doubt these kids will ever forget that day.

    A high price to pay, however.

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