Last year we did Xperimas and had a lot of fun giving you plenty of ideas for science experiments you could do at home. Little did we know we’d spent so much time at home this year… Instead of doing lots more experiments this year we have a different type of post for each day of the month! It’s time for the Hopefully Nothing Goes Boom Advent calendar!

MondaysHow does it work?
TuesdaysDaft questions
WednesdaysMolecular madness
ThursdaysFamous scientists
FridaysLet’s explore
SundaysReaction of the Week


Sprout Farts

Molecular Madness

We’ve mentioned lots of molecules that smell so far in Boom Advent, but what about the smelliest smell of all? That one smell that can send your entire family fleeing from the dining table on Christmas day. We’re talking about sprout farts. We’ve all been there – everyone sat around eating Christmas dinner when all of a sudden… Someone drops a sprout bomb!


How Does Baking Work?

How does it work?

We can make savoury baked goods such as bread or sweet treats such as cakes or biscuits. We have already seen how the golden brown colour of food is due to the Maillard reaction. There are many other molecules and reactions that occur during baking. Each of these plays a vital role in the process of baking, so let’s find out… How does baking work?


Santa’s Christmas Diet

Daft Questions

Given that everyone leaves a mince pie and a drink out for Santa as he travels around the world, how many calories is he consuming in one night? And how many calories does he burn doing all that travelling? Let’s have a look at Santa’s diet and see.

bread chicken and steak are all browned by the maillard reaction


Cooking With Chemistry: The Maillard Reaction

Reaction of the Week

One of the best features of cooking or baking is that golden brown colour food becomes. The golden skin of roast chicken, the thick crust of a loaf of bread and the dark colour of steak are all because of one incredibly widespread reaction. This reaction is known as the Maillard reaction, after the French chemist who first described it.

alcohol on fire


Set Fire to the Christmas Pudding


You take a pudding that contains brandy. You serve it with brandy butter, brandy sauce and brandy cream. And to top it all off it arrives at your table covered with brandy and then set on fire! Why don’t we just cut out the middle man and have a glass of brandy? Well, it’s all part of the Christmas theatre isn’t it. Let’s have a look at how we set fire to the Christmas pudding and see what’s going on.



Snow – Just Crystallised Water

Let’s Explore

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without snow, which is funny considering it hardly ever snows on Christmas Day. At least not by me anyway. We all love snow and everything we can do with it: snowball fights, building snowman and sledging. Snow is just crystallised water,  right?


Iréne Joliot-Curie

Famous Scientists

You have probably heard of a scientist named Marie Curie? However, you may not have heard of her daughter Iréne Joliot-Curie. Iréne was also a brilliant scientist and won a Noble Prize herself. Much like her parents, Iréne spent her life researching radioactivity.


Pining for Pinene

Molecular Madness

Christmas is a festival of the senses. There are loads of molecules we could pick to highlight Christmas but this week, we’ve picked a very smelly molecule. That wonderful scent of a real Christmas tree – that rich, woody aroma – is all thanks to a molecule called pinene and we’ve spent all season pining for it!


How Unique Am I?

Daft Questions

What features make you different from anyone else? You might have different coloured hair It might be straight or curly or kinky. Then there’s eye colour and so many more. So the question “How Unique am I?” might be a hard one to answer!

LED rainbow


How do LEDs work?

How does it work?

Christmas is the time for lights and decorations! You can’t go anywhere without seeing some beautiful glowing lights in a tree or lighting up a house. A long time ago those lights were probably made with conventional lightbulbs getting hot and really bumping up the electricity bill. Modern bulbs are more likely to be LEDs – which are far more efficient and come in far more colours! So let’s find out – how do LEDs work?



Fermentation – Christmas Sprits

Reaction of the Week

Humans have been using fermentation to make alcoholic beverages for millenia. Take some fruit or grains, add some yeast and leave in a container for months or years to create alcohol. Fermentation is used for a lot more than just alcohol production!

Christmas Global Science Show


Why do Snowflakes have 6 points?


The final Global Science Show of 2020 is the perfect time to talk about Christmas. We all wish for a ‘White Christmas’ and for there to be snow. Well have you ever wondered what snowflakes are, how they form and whether you can make your own? Well check this video out!

colour wavelengths


What is Colour?

Let’s Explore

It’s starting to look like in the future we will have the tools to shape those genes so maybe we can have superfood chips, a dog that lives as long as you do, and diseases that we can easily control or treat. All thanks to the work of two incredible scientists: Charpentier and Doudna, and the technology called CRISPR.



Doudna and Charpentier, science superheroes

Famous Scientists

It’s starting to look like in the future we will have the tools to shape those genes so maybe we can have superfood chips, a dog that lives as long as you do, and diseases that we can easily control or treat. All thanks to the work of two incredible scientists: Charpentier and Doudna, and the technology called CRISPR.




Molecular Madness

We said last week in the first Molecule Madness that Christmas is a festival of the senses. Last week we covered the sight of tinsel. This week it’s the wonderful smells and tastes of a fabulous selection of food and drink from mulled wine to turkey and mince pies to chocolate. We can’t resist all of that wonderful Christmas food but that comes with a problem – heartburn – and then it’s time to reach for the aluminium hydroxide.

hexagonal shaped molecule


What Shape is a Molecule?

Daft Questions

We’ve seen a lot of different molecules in Marcus’ Molecule of the Month posts so surely we can answer this question by now. Don’t worry – we’re not going to get too deep in theory or talk about hybridisation or orbitals. In this post we’ll be pretending atoms are LEGO and we’re seeing what shapes we can put them together into!

layers of the sun


How does the Sun work?

Reaction of the Week

Our Sun keeps us warm and gives us the day time which is handy for going outside without stubbing your toe and falling into ponds. We spin around it on spaceship Earth once a year. But how does it actually work?



Combustion: It’s Getting Hot in Here

Reaction of the Week

The Christmas pudding is the showpiece of the Christmas dinner. Turn the lights off, strike a match and watch the wonderful mysterious blue aura dance around the pudding. It’s a Christmas themed reaction for this week – Combustion!


Sneaky Silent Santa


There are some amazing and curious minds out there. Marvellous Marthy has asked us: “How can Santa sneak about the house without waking anyone up?”There is an easy answer to this: obviously Santa is magic! But… what if he wasn’t magic? How does sneaky Santa stay silent?


The Science of Sugar

Let’s Explore

We all pig out over Christmas, eating far too much food. Many people crave the sweet foods: chocolate, toffee and sweets. For chemists sugar means a lot more than sparkly white crystals we stir into hot drinks and cake batters. Let’s dive into the science of sugar!


Who is Santa’s Favourite Scientist?

Famous Scientists

Let’s talk about Christmas science traditions. Since 1825 the Royal Institution has put on a series of Christmas lectures ever year, proposed by Michael Farada. Many regard him as one of the most influential scientists of all time.

pvc molecule structure


What’s the Christmas-iest molecule?

Molecular Madness

Christmas is a festival of the senses. Sights of decorations. Smells and tastes of food and drink. Sounds of banging crackers. Let’s take a look at a molecule that makes Christmas – our first one is PVC!


How many atoms in my cup of tea?

Daft Question

It’s the 1st of December! Get a choc out of your advent calendar, make a cup of tea and find out how many atoms you’ve just sipped away at!

We hope you’ve enjoyed Boom Advent, now have a Merry Christmas!

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