My name is Oluwatobi Kolawole and I am one of the Early-Stage Researchers on the “Protection against Endocrine Disruptors” (PROTECTED) project.
In August 2018, Pink Ladies Cancer Support Group hosted a science event for children as part of Gasyard Felie 2018 programme in Derry/Londonderry. QUB PROTECTED team participated in the fun-filled entertaining science show, with lots of wacky and interactive science experiments that made hundreds of children laughed out loud and increased their passion to pursue science.
During the event, I had an opportunity to explain to the children vital roles vitamin C play in our body, sources and rapid way to detect vitamin C in food. Importantly, I acted as a food fraud detector by demonstrating/supervising the kids on how to determine if the various vitamin C drinks bought from stores actually contain vitamin C or not. Briefly, I allowed the kids to pipette an aliquot of their vitamin C drinks into bottles containing 1 ml of blue iodine solution (prepared by adding iodine solution to starch). If the blue solution turns colourless, it indicates presence of vitamin C in drinks as claimed by the store-keeper however the absence of any rapid colour change shows lack of vitamin C in drink. Interestingly, children with drinks without vitamins C (no colour change) went back angrily to the store keepers to express their displeasure and requested for a refund or another genuine vitamin C drink. This created great enmity between the store keepers and I, as they experienced low patronage.
Aside from the vitamin C testing, the children were also very curious to know the chemistry behind the dramatic colour change. Some of the comments uttered by the kids include “wow”, “I would like to be a scientist in the future”, “so interesting” and “I love science” Other fantastic experiments performed by our group include mixing bicarbonate soda and vinegar to make CO2, running food dyes on chromatography paper, Rubik’s cube puzzle game and hologram.
The event ended with a lovely Irish dance and good food!
Subsequently, we made a quick tour around the beautiful city of Derry/Londonderry. We went to the peace bridge, which is an amazing piece of engineering (a self-anchored suspension bridge) across the River Foyle. The bridge is about 235 metres, connecting the two sides of the River Foyle with a couple of places to sit, to take in the beauty of both the bridge and the river.
Furthermore, we walked the walled city of Derry/Londonderry which is known to be one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe. The walls are approximately 1.5 km in circumference and provide an opportunity to view the layout of the city. There are seven gates to the walled city which vary in width between 12 and 35 feet with 24 cannons which are displayed throughout the city walls. Also, there are murals painted on the sides of buildings with historical event that occurred in the area. It is worth seeing if you ever find yourself in Ireland, Northern Ireland or Belfast. Kudos to the organisers of the event, Pink Ladies Cancer Support Group and PROTECED coordinator Dr Lisa Connolly.