“It’s good to eat your bogeys!” To the horror of parents, BBC Gastronaut Stefan Gates in his talk on Sunday for the Norwich Science Festival, assures a crowd of delighted children that eating your own bogeys is actually good for your health.
Dressed in his ‘I’m Revolting’ t-shirt, Stefan used a range of unique and ingenious experiments to prove just that, taking us on a gastric journey from mouth to anus in the atrium of the Sir Isaac Newton 6th Form.
He caught our attention with his pyrotechnic displays of the energy stored in our food before collecting the samples of saliva enthusiastically provided by the audience.
“We’re going to have a spit-race!” Amylase is the enzyme in our spit responsible for breaking down long-chain carbons and can, within seconds, reduce custard to a runny consistency that reaches the finish line even before its competitor, the control sample, hits the slope.
A simple and powerful, if slightly unsavoury, demonstration of the power of enzymes.
But as soon as this fact hit the audience, Stefan was “cooking with vomit” to illustrate the protein denaturing ability of the acid in our stomachs.
Children were then back on stage getting their tongues painted blue to highlight their taste buds under a microscope and trying the delicate, nutty flavour of the Fat- Arsed Ant.
If eating insects doesn’t turn your stomach, his poo demonstration definitely would have done, and he ended his show answering the vital question: how do farts make their noise? (It’s the flapping sphincter.)
With only an hour to work with the Gastronauts, their show was packed with innovative, and sometimes gross, demonstrations using everyday objects that made gastrophysics more interesting and understandable than the name suggests.