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Mike Gaultois, a postdoc in the Grey Group, put together a number of demos including magnetism, hydrophobic and hydrophilic materials, and one showing how batteries work. Here he reflects on the Chemistry Open Day 2017:

Naturally, the kids were most excited, darting quickly between experiments dragging parents around because they want to try the next thing.

One young girl was connecting lemon batteries in series. When she realised that if one lemon gave 1 volt,  two gave 2 volts, and three lemons gave 3 volts, then ten lemons should give 10 volts, she began jumping around with unbounded joy.

Everyone expects children to get excited on these days, but it was a surprise, to me, to see the parents and adults becoming as intrigued as their children. They often lingered and continued to ask questions, while their kids pestered, "Come on, I want to make slime!"

I was particularly fortunate to share an experience of discovery with one parent, who confided in me they never really understood why putting metal prongs in a lemon produced a voltage.

The day is a great way to get young, and older, minds excited about science, and to share in the joy of scientific discovery. When we're in the lab every day,  it's easy to forget how cool our work is, how lucky we are to be practising scientists and how fortunate we are, as postdocs, to be paid for our endeavours. Open Day is a beautiful way to rekindle our own love of science, and it’s rewarding to share that. I think it’s our responsibility to bring our science to the public, because by providing this service everyone in our community can reap the rewards.