Tales from the Prep Room

The Prep Room plays a crucial role in the Royal Institution’s public communication of science. It is where all the equipment and demonstrations are prepared for Royal Institution events - not least the annual Christmas Lectures. This series provides a range of hands-on experiments and demonstrations across a full range of scientific topics led by the Royal Institution's Demonstration Technician, Mr Andrew Marmery.



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Tales from the Prep Room: Argon Ice

Produced by the Royal Institution, this video demonstrates how to freeze argon gas using liquid nitrogen. The solid argon can be used to show the transitions from solid to liquid and to gas.

Argon freezes at around -190[sup]o[/sup]C and boils at about -187[sup]o[/sup]C, so it has a very narrow liquid phase...

Tales from the Prep Room: Making Sand Swim

Produced by the Royal Institution, this short video shows how compressed air can have some unusual effects on the properties of sand.

Passing compressed air through a layer of sand causes the sand particles to flow over each other similar to a fluid. In the 'fluidised bed' the sand acts like a liquid and...

Tales From the Prep Room: Alkali Metals

This video from the Royal Institution shows how a small piece of sodium on the end of a match head will burn if a few drops of water are added to the sodium. All alkali metals are very reactive in air and with water. Potassium is more reactive than sodium, and the video shows how only one drop of water can make...

Tales from the Prep Room: Liquid Oxygen

This video, from the Royal Institution, shows how liquid oxygen is made using an oxygen gas cylinder and liquid nitrogen to condense it to a liquid. Pouring liquid oxygen between the poles of a magnet demonstrates how the unpaired electrons within the material have a residual dipole and can act as a weak magnet....