Learning the table of elements is a tedious chore at school, but a gripping game at home, if you learn by playing Top Trumps. You can know your elements before you're seven years old! The way to victory is to know the facts.
Fortunately the facts are accompanied by fascinating stories of how they came about, and what crazy and dangerous ideas people had about them back in the day. They used to be almost worshipped for their super-human properties,and were given super-human names to match
Richard Cope, the originator of the game is full of the stories of the superheroes behind the cards. Richard Robinson, the director of Brighton Science Festival, is eager to learn. But which titan will win the actual game?,
They face each other on Monday July 6th at 10.00, on ZOOM,
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The story began over 15 years ago, when Richard Cope had an idea for a game. The dream was to educate children and young adults about the periodic table of elements.
While working in Australia, Richard created the initial drawings, and the concept was born. Then life took over and the idea was put on the back burner. However, it was never forgotten, and when Richard and Ruth started homeschooling their two boys, they decided to bring the game back to life. That’s when the hard work began.
The more they worked on the project, the more it took on a life of its own. Finally, after an almost superhuman effort (a bit like the characters on the cards), the game was born. The response and feedback received so far, has been staggering. Even now, it’s encouraging potential new Einsteins to see the periodic table, not as a mass of tiny numbers and letters, but as a smorgasbord of superheroes. Magic and chemistry wrapped up in a cosmic field of curiosity and understanding.
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When I was at school I wanted to be everything. So, reckoning that if I did science I could keep up with the arts, but not the other way round, I did science A levels. Then I applied to universities to do arts courses. They looked at my A levels, and laughed and laughed. There is sadly a huge barrier between sciences and arts. I found a gap and slipped through that barrier: Psychology! It is a science, but it spends a long time time studying art, creativity, imagination, etc. Cool. As it turns out, science is - amazing, though dealing with the lingo is frustrating. My mission is to share the excitement, but simplify the language so we can all do it. I have been lucky: after uni I was able to mix arts and science in a puppet series on children's TV about science (The Riddlers), and I've written 20 books about it. Over the past 15 years I have continued to encourage scientific thinking and creativity in schools and homes via the Brighton Science Festival, and the Pocket Science Funfair. There's plenty to do: we need to understand a lot of things, from the huge to the tiny (think climate change/viruses). Let's keep on trying.