I haven’t been doing much M257 work this week, but I’ve been helping Alex out with his S104 stuff. At the moment he’s reading Book 4, the chemistry one, and this week we watched a video about how various metals react with water. Now, I vaguely remembered from GCSE Science that a piece of calcium will fizz and whoosh around if dropped into a container of water, like this:


What I didn’t know is that some metals react so violently with the water that the hydrogen gas produced actually ignites, like this:

Pretty cool, and definitely more impressive than plain old fizzing and whooshing. But not quite as impressive as this:

Flames are great, but sparks and explosions? Even better. So after the S104 video finished, we did a bit of time-wasting on the internet extracurricular online research to see if we could find even more violent reactions involving metals from further down the periodic table. And that was when we discovered the wonder that is caesium:

Somehow, destroying a bit of glassware impresses me even more than sparks and flames – probably because I don’t have to pay for the broken beaker!

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