Instant ice cream proves a hit in Cally Fest heat


With the annual Cally Festival taking place on Sunday 18 June up the road from the site of the new building, we descended on the area to take another opportunity to get to know our new neighbours – and show them some physics tricks.

Setting up a stall in the Learning Zone, we brought along some leaflets about the space for physics we’re creating on the corner of Caledonian Road and Balfe Street, and held some interactive physics demos for the local community.

Our public programmes manager Toby Shannon and a team of three volunteer IOP members showed:

  • How snipping the end off a drinking straw to make a triangular tip can turn it into a rudimentary musical intrument – and how shortening the straw makes higher notes
  • How to inflate and deflate marshmallows
  • And most popularly on a sweltering day, how to make instant ice cream with just milk, salt and ice

Reactions from visitors to our stall were positive. Showed the inflating marshmallows demo, 50-year old Chris exclaimed that “physics is amazing” and discussed his daughters’ interest in science.

Local resident Louisa had brought her children back to the stand after having seen it last year. “That was the only thing they wanted to come back for,” she said. “They love science.”

And Anna, at the festival with family, who all took up the chance to make some instant ice cream, said: “You guys have really made my day today.”

Speaking after the event, Toby said: “It’s been another fantastic opportunity to get to know our new neighbours, We’ve been making hundreds of ice creams and having lots of interesing conversations with people from the community we’re going to be part of.

“I’d also like to say a big thank you to the festival organisers and to our volunteers from Queen Mary University.”