The full blast of science

7th January 2005 at 00:00
Thomas Hardye school in Dorchester stops at nothing in its efforts to switch pupils on to science.

Differences between dynamite, hydrogen and firework explosions have been demonstrated by, among other things, substituting the cannon blasts in Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture with hydrogen balloon explosions.

And sixth-formers at the specialist science college have visited the European Northern Observatory on the Canary Island of La Palma to observe distant galaxies.

"What students found most amusing was that their crisp packets expanded to the size of huge balloons on the way up a 10,000ft mountain because the air pressure was so low," said Julia Harley, the assistant head.

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