Dec 18

ScienceBites – Christmas edition

At LGC Teddington, we recently held a very informative event called ScienceBites. This event is aimed to encourage our colleScienceBites wordle smlagues at Teddington to share their science, meet new people and see the kind of work that goes on within LGC. This edition had a little Christmas twist!

Many of our scientists presented their research and enlightened us with some interesting facts about Christmas trees, Christmas crackers and how careful we need to be around ATM machines when doing our Christmas shopping.

Do you know how many different types of trees are used in  Northern Europe? There are 6 most popular ones which include the Norway spruce (which is the original and the cheapest), Silver fir, Nordmann fir, Serbian spruce, Scots pine and Swiss pine. We are currently undertaking a study as part of the Government Chemist program to develop robust DNA profiling assays for species identification, for geographical location and validate analytical procedures for the extraction of DNA from treated and untreated timber products. Did you know an acre of Christmas trees provides for the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people!

Another very popular Christmas tradition explored in the ScienceBites event was Christmas crackers. According to different sources, the first ever Christmas cracker was made in England in the 1840s by Tom Smith. Christmas crackers are actually subScience bites festive 4 smlject to three European Safety Directives which include The Pyrotechnic Articles Directive which prohibit anyone younger than 12 to use a Christmas cracker. The molecular formula for the snap is AgCNO (combination of grit and silver fulminate) which is what creates the snap in the cracker. The toys also go through various Regulations where they legally define toys and have requirements to make sure they are safe to be put into a cracker.

One of the most popular stalls there, explained how fraudsters can easily steal your credit/debit card information while you use ATM machines! Some methods that were discovered were cameras on top of the pin pad and  another card reader and pin pad being installed on top of the one in the machine so do watch out for these and stay safe while shopping this Christmas.

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