Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

Discourse: Explosive chemistry with Andrew Szydlo

Header image for Title
  7:20 pm - 8:45 pm

Those familiar with our family programme here at the Ri will recognise the name Andrew Szydlo! Long time friend of the Ri and explosive science extraordinaire we’re delighted to bring Andrew back to the Theatre in a slightly different capacity, he will join our renowned list of Discourse speakers.

The evening will be a remarkable opportunity to delve into the evolution of explosive chemical experiments. Andrew is a maestro of chemistry and will take us on a journey with dazzling demonstrations and experiments, interspersed with anecdotes from his life to show a glimpse behind the curtain of this enigmatic man.

The evening promises to be a riveting experience, as he regales the audience with tales of his past exploits, including:

1. A daring and "strictly banned" experiment involving the explosive mixture of sodium hypophosphite and potassium chlorate at Latymer Upper School in 1966, resulting in a resounding detonation that reverberated through the entire building. The experiment aims to illustrate the stark contrast between this forbidden concoction and conventional black powder.

2. An unforgettable escapade in 1982, when he tossed sizable lumps of sodium down a drain in Exeter, later transformed into a demonstrative experiment involving the controlled use of sodium pieces submerged in a water-filled Perspex tube.

3. A spectacular chemistry lecture at Cambridge University in 2012, where a tennis ball fired from a mortar blasted a hole through the ceiling of the Myers Squibb Lecture theatre. This momentous event was part of a lecture titled "Fireworks and Waterworks."

4. A thrilling endeavor in 1981, when a mixture of acetylene and oxygen was detonated in a school playing field using a dustbin liner. The shockwave caused the windows of a nearby boarding house to shake, prompting the housemaster to investigate the aftermath, only to find a gaping crater.

5. A run-in with the authorities in Epping Forest in 1980, stemming from the conduct of oversized chemical conflagrations involving butane gas canisters, weedkiller, and sugar. This incident led to the development of a fascinating experiment that demonstrates the ignition of a mixture of icing sugar and potassium chlorate using a drop of concentrated sulphuric acid.

6. A shift in the trajectory of his demonstrations in 1990, when the headmaster of Highgate School banned explosive chemical displays. Inspired by a passionate pupil, Ian Cohen, who had an affinity for magic, Dr. Szydlo transitioned his explosive talks into "Flower Power" magic shows, delivering the same excitement on a grander scale.

Contact and Booking Details

  7:20 pm - 8:45 pm

Booking details and information at this website.

Reserve tickets at this website

Disclaimer: All information given is correct at the time of compiling the listings. Any questions about the event should be directed to the event organiser. Photos and images used in this listing are supplied by the organiser.

2024-02-29 19:20 2024-02-29 19:20 Europe/London Discourse: Explosive chemistry with Andrew Szydlo Delve into the evolution of explosive chemical experiments. The Royal Institution,21 Albemarle Street,London,London


The Royal Institution,

21 Albemarle Street,

Map of

Nearest tube and train stations to The Royal Institution

What else is hapening in London on 29th Feb 2024


Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.