Photos of readers

We have one more on tap after this contribution, and then the well is dry. Don’t make me beg!

Today’s reader is Rod Charlton, whose caption is indented and who gave permission to show the photo of his granddaughter:

Attached is a photo of me and my granddaughter doing a science demo in her Grade 6 class, a couple of years ago.

My company sponsored a program called Fun with Science, and I and my partner traveled to many senior elementary schools in our area showing kids the basics. . . colour changes, polymers, physics, liquid nitrogen, and, always a huge hit, pyrotechnics.

Your readers would be well familiar with these demos, but to a 10 to 12 yr old they were amazing.

My granddaughter “volunteered” me for a demo in her class when we were visiting one year, and as my assistant, with her own lab coat, she was amazing, and the absolute envy of her classmates.

Our program won the Michael Smith Award for science education several years ago, Michael Smith being a Canadian Nobel Laureate.

Making science presentations to this age group was very rewarding, and usually stimulated many questions. Years later a teacher contacted me and told me one of her students who saw our show had contacted her, telling her how my answers to his questions pointed him towards a very interesting career. . .

Not very dramatic as some of your readers, but I and my granddaughter enjoyed every minute of it. After the show one of her classmates said, “ I wish I had a cool grandpa like you!”
I am fine with that!

It always makes me happy to see kids doing science. Look at her serious expression!

28 Comments

  1. merilee
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful!

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Exactly my response.

  2. Joe Routon
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Such positive opportunities as this can change students’ lives and, ultimately, the lives of all of us. You and your company are to be commended for this inspiring contribution to society.

  3. Jonathan Gallant
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Michael Smith was indeed a Canadian Nobel laureate, having taken Canadian citizenship in 1963, 7 years after he emigrated from Britain in order to post-doc with Khorana at UBC. But I can testify that Mike never lost his Lancashire accent.

  4. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    “I wish I had a cool grandpa like you!”.
    Of course you’re ‘fine with that’, it must be the greatest compliment any grandfather can possibly get.
    Yes, me too, I think you’re a great, inspiring, ‘cool’ grandfather! Kudos!

  5. Janet
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Inspiring young people to love science – there is hardly a more important or rewarding endeavor.

  6. beatleiain
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    This is excellent and so rewarding. I have done a few microbiology classes for children aged 6-10 and both they and I love it. I always get far more questions and engagement when talking to this age group than I ever get during my day job lecturing at a University.

  7. Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    A wonderful scene! Almost Norman Rockwell material. As you can’t give kids “real chemicals” any more, you have to use products available in the average household. I think I see several of those on the table. Your granddaughter’s expression is priceless, as if she’s worried that it will explode if she doesn’t do it just right. Actually, she’s probably worried more about being embarrassed in front of the class. I know I would be at that age.

    • Rod
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      You might be surprised what you can do with a red cabbage, lemon juice, oven cleaner, and of course baking soda and vinegar!

    • Posted August 10, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      I shudder to think of what we did with our chemistry sets (and we were active and bright enough to figure out how to extract all kinds of dangerous stuff from various retail products (including potassium chlorate – and extremely vigorous oxidizer!).

      Of course, we had no safety glasses! The only place I ever saw safety glasses in use, when I was growing up, was in middle school shop class. Oh, and my Dad’s best friend used them when grinding steel and welding.

      I am amazed I made it to adulthood with all fingers, toes, limbs, eyes, and ears. And they all work pretty well still (aside from the orthopedic injuries, all self-inflicted while climbing, kayaking, or skiing).

      • Posted August 10, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        Yes. I had a chemistry set but I have idea how dangerous its chemicals were. Of course, we can all kill ourselves easily with household products. Injecting oneself with bleach seems to be popular these days.

        AFAIK, I only received one injury playing around with technology as a kid. My father was a TV repairman and often worked on our own TV sets and that of friends. As you may know, TV picture tubes are statically charged. You are supposed to discharge them before working on them but most technicians don’t unless they are handling the picture tube directly. I once pointed to the place on the tube where the high voltage supply connects, asking “What’s this?”, and discharged the tube through my right arm. Silly me thought that I shouldn’t fear a shock when something isn’t plugged into the AC. Besides the shock itself, every muscle in my arm had a dull ache for the next hour. My father was very apologetic.

        • Posted August 11, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

          Yow, that’s a big capacitor!

          I’ve been shocked by a defibrillator (unintentionally). Very unpleasant!

          • Posted August 11, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

            I guess if I had a heart problem, I might have found out at that moment.

  8. Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Cool Grandpa indeed! Lucky you! 🙂

  9. Debra Coplan
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful memory your granddaughter will have. Terrific!

  10. Julian Cattaneo
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful! Many thanks

  11. Mark R.
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Never too early to start learning science. Looks like an engaging presentation. I can see what a proud moment this would be.

  12. Jim batterson
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    A big thank you to you and your company Rod for doing this very important work with our kids and teachers.

  13. Posted August 10, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    levely! well done being an inspiration!

  14. Posted August 10, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    arrgh! LOVELY!

    • jezgrove
      Posted August 10, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Capital letters at last, Dom!

  15. Posted August 10, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Her whole class is lucky she has such a cool Grandpa!

  16. Posted August 10, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Rod, that picture and story truly warmed my heart. That’s my favorite reader’s photo yet!

  17. Posted August 10, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh, this is dramatic. Lives can change for ever (for the better) with experiences like this. 👍

  18. jezgrove
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    “Look at her serious expression!” – there’s a strong family resemblance.

  19. Posted August 10, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Rod, you sound like the quintessential unsung hero! Well done!

  20. scruffycookie
    Posted August 10, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing!! Great to see the next generation of scientists starting so early! 🙂


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