Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Marzipan, Jelly Babies & Chemistry...

I arrived home this evening to find an email from my German friend - last year she sent me marzipan and sausages in return for traditional English sweets. This year she has been tormenting her students with descriptions of jelly babies... rather sickly sweets, made of sugar, gelatine and food colouring, dusted in icing sugar and shaped (vaguely) like little babies. I used to take great delight, as a child, in biting the heads off... Bassett's make the definitive jelly baby, though they went all PC in changing over to all natural colours and flavours a couple of years ago.

In her email, my friend offered to send me more marzipan in return for some jelly babies for her class. This seems like a very good idea: I am extremely fond of (proper) marzipan.

The request reminded me of an experiment to demonstrate respiration (Please note, respiration is NOT the same as breathing... breathing is gas exchange; respiration is getting energy from food (fuel) with the help of oxygen (aerobic respiration) or in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic respiration) - here endeth the lesson!)

Anyway, the experiment is known as the "screaming jelly baby experiment" where the glucose in the baby is oxidised pretty vigorously... this is one of the best You Tube videos, although you can't really hear the jelly baby scream - that aspect is a little bit hit-and-miss. I must try and video it myself some time!

This sort of thing may explain why people think Science teachers are weird...



I suspect marzipan would work just as well as jelly babies, but I am loathe to waste any trying it out...

6 comments:

Mark M said...

ahhhhh! Lübeckermarzipan! Lekker!

berenike said...

I've a question! A home chemistry question!

I haven't been able to find the soapy floor-washing stuff I usually use. And I use a kind of soap called something like "Potas soap" a lot anyway, so I thought "why don't I geta bar of soap and dissolve it, and I'll have liquid soap".

well, from one bar of soap I have six litres of ... mucus. I thought it would be kind of gloopy like hair conditioner or something, but mucus - like snail mucus, stretching for miles - is the best way to describe it.

What on earth is going on?!!

Mac McLernon said...

Berenike - errrrrm...

Elizabeth said...

What a waste of jelly babies. There should be a law against such waste when I could be eating them.

Seraphic Spouse said...

Ew to the soap. Yum to the marzipan.

George said...

Science can be such Great fun! In my young teenage years I was always dead keen on Chemistry. Potassium chlorate and nitrate were my favourite chemicals especially around Nov 5 when I could try my hand at making pyrotechnics! So out with the carbon powder, flowers of sulphur, magnesium shavings, cardboard bobbins from Mum's sewing kit (who cares if they still had miles of thread on them!) - pack the tube tight my secret mix, light touch paper and stand well back!!! Worked every time. Fizzz.... pop! Coloured flames and a few sparks, better than those sparklers my little brothers were allowed to have!

PS - I prefer to eat Jelly Babies rather than see them cremated!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...