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Science Promotion Unit

The Hong Kong Science Museum has recently established the Science Promotion Unit. Featuring curiosity, creativity, playfulness and collaboration, we organise online and offline programmes to share interesting science-related topics, and encourage everyone to explore the incredible world of science in our daily lives. QK POST is our first programme. "QK" stands for "Quest for Knowledge". We hope to share various scientific knowledge through online platforms. Stay tuned for our latest news!

 

Latest Programmes:

Science Cafe X My Sweet Chocolate Workshop

Valentine's Day is coming. Have you ever thought of DIY chocolates for your loved one? The Science Cafe will offer time-limited service again, featuring chocolate with a combination of art and science. You can use your imagination to create a unique colourful chocolate art piece. During the workshop, you can learn the production process of chocolate and the science behind it, as well as taste chocolates of different production methods and concentrations of cocoa.

Session*

Code

Date       

Time

1

SPU5

12.2.2022 (Sat)

2:00 – 3:30pm

2

SPU6

12.2.2022 (Sat)

4:30 – 6:00pm

3

SPU7

13.2.2022 (Sun)

2:00 – 3:30pm

4

SPU8

13.2.2022 (Sun)

4:30 – 6:00pm

*All sessions have the same content

Venue: Outpost, Salisbury Garden, Tsim Sha Tsui
Language: Cantonese
Fee: $70.5
Age: 16 or above
Capacity: 20 persons per session (On a first come first served basis. Successful applicants will receive a confirmation email with payment instructions and programme details.)
Enrolment method: Click here to register
Enrolment period: 4.1.2022 (Tue) to 18.1.2022 (Tue)

Science Cafe X My Sweet Chocolate Exhibition

Chocolate is one of the gifts for Valentine's Day to express your love. Do you know the origin of this custom? This exhibition introduces the origin of chocolates and explains the science behind the process of making chocolate. On Valentine's Day and the Lantern Festival, in addition to strolling along the harbourside and exchanging chocolates with your loved one, you may come to visit this small-scale exhibition to learn more about chocolates and enjoy a romantic and fruitful Valentine's Day.

Exhibition Period: 14.2.2022 & 15.2.2022
Opening Hours: 1:00pm – 7:00pm
Venue: Outpost, Salisbury Garden, Tsim Sha Tsui
Free Admission

Enquiries: spu@lcsd.gov.hk

 


 

QKPOST: Science Vocabulary A to Z - I for Immune System

The immune system is the body's lines of defence against diseases. Human immune system is a sophisticated system orchestrated by different types of cells and organs. It can detect and destroy foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses and pathogens.

The immune system can be classified into innate immunity and acquired immunity. The innate immune mechanisms are physical and chemical barriers that are always ready to defend the body from pathogens, such as skin, lysozymes in saliva and leucocytes. The acquired immune responses occur only after exposure to a specific pathogen either by infection or vaccination. It is tailored to fight against a specific pathogen, such as the new coronavirus causing the ongoing global pandemic.

In addition, allergies such as reactive airway disease, allergic rhinitis or food allergy are also related to the immune system. Allergies are caused by a type of antibody called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which binds to mast cells in the skin, trachea, digestive tract, etc. When IgE detects an allergen, it will activate the mast cells to release histamine and trigger allergic symptoms in the body.

Do you know how allergy medicines work?

 


 

QKPOST: Science Vocabulary A to Z - H for Hydrocarbon

Hydrocarbon is an organic compound composed solely of the elements carbon (C) and hydrogen (H). Different numbers of carbon and hydrogen atoms combine to form an endless number of hydrocarbons on Earth.

One carbon and four hydrogen atoms form methane (CH4), the main constituent of natural gas. Two carbon and four hydrogen atoms will combine to form ethylene (C2H4), which is produced during the ripening process of bananas. If we place a ripening banana next to an avocado, the avocado will be ripened and become soft. Fossil fuels such as the gasoline, diesel or liquefied petroleum gas refined from oil are mainly composed of hydrocarbons as well.

Do you know other uses of hydrocarbons in our daily lives?

 


 

QKPOST: Science Vocabulary A to Z - G for Gravity

Last time, we mentioned the four fundamental forces in the universe, and today we are going to introduce gravity.

Gravity is an attractive force between all objects with mass. Under its action, tides occur, Moon orbits around the Earth, the Earth orbits around the Sun and substances in the universe can be pulled together to form new stars and planets.

It is well-known that people and objects are kept on the ground because of the Earth's gravity. In fact, our bodies are exerting attractive forces on the Earth. However, the Earth is much massive, so we cannot observe the effect. Gravity is a relatively weak force. Hence, we can resist it to lift up a cup by applying a gentle force.

Do astronauts escape from the Earth's gravity when they fly into space?

 


 

QKPOST: How is silky chocolate made?

Thinking of making chocolate at Christmas, and wondering how to make chocolate that is smooth, crunchy and shiny? Tempering is the key!

Cocoa butter is the major fat component in chocolate. At different temperatures, it will have different forms of crystal. The denser cocoa butter molecules are stacked together, the more stable the crystal structure will be, resulting in higher melting point and harder texture.

Tempering refers to the heating and cooling of chocolate at optimal temperatures. One of the crucial factor is not to heat up the chocolate directly, but to melt it in a hot water bath at the right temperature. This promotes the formation of ideal crystalline structure and produces chocolate that is shiny with smooth texture and melts only in your mouth but not in your hand.

Have you tried to temper your chocolate?

 


 

QKPOST: How do leaves dress for fall?

Autumn is a perfect time for leaf peeping, especially when leaves start turning red! However, not all leaves turn red in late autumn.

The most common tree with red leaves in Hong Kong is the Sweet Gum. Its leaves contain a variety of pigments, including green chlorophyll, yellow carotene and red anthocyanin, etc. In spring and summer, when the weather is warm with strong sunlight, photosynthesis is very active and there is more chlorophyll in the leaves than other pigments. So the leaves appear green.

In autumn and winter, with less sunlight and lower temperature, the effectiveness of photosynthesis is reduced. The nutrients and nitrogen in the leaves are transferred to the roots and stems. The green chlorophyll degrades gradually, so the yellow carotene and red anthocyanin become more prominent. Therefore, the leaves turn to yellow and red.

Other than sweet gum, do you know of any other trees with red leaves in Hong Kong?

Tips for red leaves peeping:
To grasp the best time for enjoying red leaves scenery, you may check for Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department's red leaves index of Tai Tong Sweet Gum Woods before making your trip:(https://www.natureintouch.gov.hk/redleaves)

 


 

QKPOST: Science Vocabulary A to Z - F for Force

When we speak of force, we may relate it to attraction, influence, strength or weakness. In fact, force is everywhere in our daily lives. Force can change the state of motion of an object, including its speed, direction and shape. However, scientists do not treat force so simply. Physicists study all phenomena and conceive that all forces in the universe can be classified into four fundamental forces, namely strong force, weak force, gravitational force and electromagnetic force.

Oh! Confused with so many kinds of force? Don't worry! We will explore the science of force with you later.

 


 

QKPOST: What is the science behind figure skating?

"To Science With Love" Microfilm: Ice Breaking

Figure skating is an elegant and beautiful sport. Working in an ice rink, the actress in the microfilm often tries to learn figure skating by herself after work. But no matter how hard she tries, she still can't grasp the professional spinning techniques. Why? Watch the video and find out how science inspires the actress to perform graceful figure skating movements!

Language: Cantonese
Duration: 7:26

 


 

QKPOST: How do science recreate a flavour of the past?

"To Science With Love" Microfilm: Expiry Taste

Did you know other than ingredients, science also plays a big part in creating delicious cuisine? The actress in the film is a head chef. In order to satisfy a "mysterious guest", she works hard to improve a signature dish Dragon Home. How does she create a rich starchy sauce? How to make the flavour even more appealing? Watch the video and find out how science can help create a flavour of the past!

Language: Cantonese
Duration: 6:23

 


 

QKPOST: Science Vocabulary A to Z - E for Evolution

Have you ever heard of "Survival of the fittest"? This is a phrase originated from Darwin's evolutionary theory!

So what exactly is evolution? It refers to the change in the inherited traits of organisms through generations. It originates from genetic variations within a population. Taking human as an example, inherited traits such as skin colour, blood type and height vary from person to person. In nature, if some individuals possess some traits that allow them to have an edge for survival, they are more likely to reproduce and pass the adaptive traits to their offspring. Vice versa, individuals with less adaptive traits are less likely to survive and reproduce. As time goes by, those adaptive traits will become more prevalent, and hence bring new species.

To obtain greater survival advantage, some animals can blend in perfectly with the environment, click the link below to learn more about these incredible animals:
https://www.thoughtco.com/animals-that-mimic-leaves-373903

Other than these animals, do you know other organisms with special adaptive traits?

 


 

QKPOST: Which is more important: the process or the result?

"To Science With Love" Microfilm: Tuesday's Invention

Which is more important: the process or the result? In the journey of scientific research, even if scientists experience repeated failures, they will never give up! They have to learn from failures, and keep fighting against all odds before they can succeed.

In the video, the main character Felix is obsessed with scientific inventions, and he is often laughed at and rejected by his classmates. However, he observes the spirit of scientists and does not give up. Let's see if he can succeed in the end!

Language: Cantonese
Duration: 6:46

 


 

QKPOST: So… What is Science?

What comes to your mind when you hear the word "Science"? Albert Einstein? Solar torch? Or space travel? While it sounds so remote, in fact, science is like your friends, all around you and no stranger at all!

Themed on toys, food and ice skating and with touching storylines, "To Science With Love" microfilm series brings out that science can be approachable and humane.

Let's take a sneak preview and check out what people think about science, and how the three micro-films move our Museum Director!

 


 

QKPOST: How is the automatic door related with Einstein?

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Einstein's Nobel Prize in Physics. Speaking of Einstein, many people will think of the theory of relativity, but this genius scientist won the award that year actually because of photoelectric effect!

The photoelectric effect refers to the emission of electrons when an object is hit by light. To produce this phenomenon, the light must have sufficiently high energy. However, classical physics cannot fully answer the questions involved in this phenomenon. Einstein put forward the concept of modelling light as particles (photons) and successfully explained the photoelectric effect. The electron absorbs the energy of the photon, which is related to the frequency of light. Only if the photon has sufficient energy, which means the frequency is high enough, will the electron has enough energy to be free from the attraction of the material.

Some automatic doors make use of the photoelectric effect. These doors are installed with light emitters and light sensors. When we approach the door and block the light from the light sensor, the current will drop. By detecting the change in current and incorporating proper circuitry, the automatic door will open.

Do you know of any other applications of the photoelectric effect?

The winner of this year's Nobel Prize in Physics has been announced! Congratulations to Syukuro Manabe of USA, Klaus Hasselmann of Germany and Giorgio Parisi of Italy for groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems!

 


 

QKPOST: Science Vocabulary A to Z - D for DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), is the genetic material that can be found in cells and governs the unique traits of living things. Composed of four nucleotides represented by A, T, G, C, it forms a double helix structure.

Each individual has its unique genes. What is the difference between DNA and gene? A gene is a part of the DNA sequence with unique order of nucleotides. If DNA is a spiral staircase, nucleotides are the steps and a gene is a part of the spiral staircase. Our size of the earlobe, the ability to roll our tongue etc. are all related to genes.

We now know the difference between DNA and genes, how are they related with chromosome?

 


 

QKPOST: Science Vocabulary A to Z - C for Cell

Cell is the basic unit of living things, and we have tens of trillions of cells in our body. An animal cell is mainly made up of cell membrane, cytoplasm, organelles and genetic materials.

A cell operates like a city. Cell membrane is the port of entry, controlling what goes in and out of a cell. Cytoplasm is the living environment of a city, which is jelly-like and provides a stable working environment for organelles. Organelles are the buildings with different functions. The cell nucleus is the control centre responsible for storing and replicating genetic materials and giving instructions for normal functioning of the body.

Do you know what living organisms in our body are more numerous than our cells?  

 


 

QKPOST: Why drinking coffee can be refreshing?

Coffee can keep us awake because of caffeine, but why is that? It's actually a misunderstanding of our brain!

Adenosine is one of the chemicals that makes us feel sleepy. When its level rises, it will bind with more adenosine receptors in our brain and make us feel sleepy. The structure of caffeine is similar to adenosine. When we drink a cup of coffee, caffeine will bind with adenosine receptors and hence prevents adenosine from binding with them. As a result, the detectable level of adenosine will be reduced, and that's why caffeine can keep us awake.

However, the effectiveness of caffeine varies from person to person. Some people still feel sleepy after drinking a big cup of coffee, whereas others can't fall asleep even with only a few sips. This is because of the genetic variation, so that some people's adenosine receptors won't bind with caffeine easily. Hence, caffeine will not work on them as effectively!

Other than coffee, can you name other food or drinks that contain caffeine?

 


 

QKPOST: Why coffee smells so good?

A cup of coffee makes a good day perfect. Have you ever wondered why coffee smells so good?

To brew a cup of aromatic coffee, we will need coffee beans and they are the seeds of coffee trees. If we remove the pulp and skin of a coffee cherry, we will find the green coffee bean (the seed). When green coffee beans are roasted under high temperature, they become coffee beans.

The high temperature of roasting triggers a number of chemical reactions in the green coffee beans, for instance, the pyrolysis of sugars will produce caramel compounds (caramelisation), and with the presence of carbohydrates and proteins (that is reducing sugars and amino acids), Maillard reaction will take place and produce a variety of aromatic compounds and melanoidins, forming the unique colour and aroma of coffee!

Do you know why we feel refreshed after drinking coffee?

 


 

QKPOST: Science Vocabulary A to Z - B for Big Bang

Many of us are familiar with the Korean boyband "Big Bang", but do you know anything about the "actual" Big Bang?

Scientists believe that the universe was formed from the Big Bang. According to the Big Bang theory, 13.8 billion years ago, all matter and energy in the universe were squeezed into a "singularity", which is a very dense and extremely hot point.

At the moment of the Big Bang, time began. The four fundamental forces, including the gravitational force, the strong force, the weak force and the electromagnetic force were separated. After continuous expansion and cooling, various elements were gradually formed. Under the gravitational attraction, matters clump together, forming stars and galaxies, gradually becoming the universe today.

Then what is the difference between the Big Bang and an ordinary explosion?

 


 

QKPOST: Colour Series - Carmine as food colouring

Sausages, hams, crab sticks, etc. are all red in colour. The common "red" processed food we come across in our daily lives may have used a type of edible red food colouring called "carmine". Have you ever thought about that it is produced from cochineal insects?

Using insects to make food sounds scary, right? Cochineal insects are native to South America and Peru is the major supplier of carmine. The insects feed on cactus and their bodies contain the red carminic acid which deter predators.

The carmine production process is as follows: dry and ground the insects, put the extracts into hot water with addition of ammonia or bicarbonate and precipitate with aluminium salts, then wash with water and sterilise. Carmine can appear from orange yellow to purplish red at different pH level.

Carmine is a stable natural colouring which is resistant to light and heat and can be used in cosmetics besides food. Carmine is safe for most people but a few people may be allergic to it.

How can we tell which food contains carmine? Food labels listed 120, E120, Cochineal, Carminic acid, Carmines or Natural Red 4 all indicate that carmine is used.

Will you consider to eat sausages in green colour or crab sticks that are yellow? Can you think of other ingredients that could produce red natural colouring?

 


 

QKPOST: Science Vocabulary A to Z - A for Atom

"It's a small world after all. It's a small world after all…"

Atoms are the basic building blocks of all matter. For example, H2O or water molecules are made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Although atoms are all around, how do they look like actually?

IBM researchers produced a micro micro film magnifying atoms 100 million times with carbon monoxide, consisting of carbon and oxygen atoms, as the leading actors. It won the smallest stop-motion film in the Guinness World Records.

Enjoy a truly micro micro film here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCX78-8-q0

Do you know what is inside an atom?

 


 

The launch of QK POST! (17 August 2021)

Special announcement: The Hong Kong Science Museum has recently established the Science Promotion Unit, with Curiosity, Collaboration, Creativity and Playfulness as our core values. By sharing interesting science content and ideas around a range of daily-life topics, we encourage everyone to explore the incredible world of science.

QK POST is our first programme. "QK" stands for "Quest for Knowledge". We hope to share various scientific knowledge through online platforms. Stay tuned for our latest news!

 


 

 

Last Modified: 13-01-2022

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