Invitation to mass-participation science experiment in Sheffield

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Academics at Sheffield Hallam University are inviting people to turn their kitchens into science labs as they launch a new science project that aims to demystify popular life hacks.

The Hit or Myth project has been launched to encourage members of the public to become citizen scientists and undertake simple experiments in their homes that seek to prove or disprove well-known theories.

The Yorkshire Chemistry Outreach Group, which comprises of scientists from Sheffield Hallam’s department of Biosciences and Chemistry and the Universities of Sheffield, Bradford, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds and York, received funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry to carry out the mass-participation science project.

Hit or Myth will consist of a series of videos demonstrating how to carry out simple science experiments to test the theories and citizen scientists will be encouraged to record their findings on the project’s website.

The results of everyone’s experiments will then be collated and analysed.

The first theory to be examined is the claim that you can remove the smell of garlic from your hands by rubbing them with stainless steel.

The Royal Society of Chemistry says this is a popular theory but has ‘sketchy’ scientific data.

Sheffield Hallam’s Dr Catherine Duckett, senior lecturer in analytical science, said: “This is a really fun and interactive science experiment that anyone can get involved in.

“There are a lot of myths, hints and tips out there that are designed to make our lives easier but there is very little evidence to say whether they actually work or not.

“A number of ‘how-to’ videos will be posted onto the website over the next year which will provide detailed instructions on how to carry out the experiments as well as more detailed explanations of the science behind the theory. We want the public’s help in determining whether it’s a hit or a myth.”