Scottish audience hears about IOP and the physics of beer

15 June 2018

The physics of beer and what produces and sustains its characteristic head of foam were explored in an IOP event in Glasgow organised for our affiliates and guests in Scotland, who also heard about the Institute’s work in education and public engagement in Scotland.

Scottish audience hears about IOP and the physics of beer

The evening at West Brewery on 18 April included a talk by Heriot-Watt University’s Professor Stephen Euston (pictured below left), who explained that the foam on a beer at different temperatures can affect its taste and texture.

Scottish audience hears about IOP and the physics of beer

Using equations and graphs, he described how the production of foam, the size of the bubbles and how long they last are determined by factors such as the density of the beer and the size of tiny “nucleation sites” – natural defects in the beer glass or deliberately created by engraving – on which the bubbles grow.

Around 30 guests, who included distinguished academics, heads of university departments and business leaders in Scotland, also heard from our Project Officer for Improving Gender Balance Scotland, Heather Earnshaw, who described how the education team’s pilot project in this area had been so successful that it had been taken up by the Scottish Government.

Scottish audience hears about IOP and the physics of beer

Our Public Engagement Manager for Scotland, Sîan Hickson (left), spoke to the guests about IOP’s successful launch of a new Festival of Physics and input to rural science festivals in Scotland, our science storytelling project with three to five-year-olds and programme of workshops, lectures and events.

The evening and initial speeches were introduced by our Head of Development, Jean Smith, while our Chief Executive, Professor Paul Hardaker, introduced the later talks, adding comments as the evening progressed, and took a Q&A session.

Scottish audience hears about IOP and the physics of beer

Before the presentations, guests were taken on a tour of the brewery by an expert guide who explained the brewing process, and each was given two bottles of different beers to take away, as well as being treated to a buffet and drinks on site.

Scottish audience hears about IOP and the physics of beer

The event was hosted by Stuart Farmer, Chair of the IOP in Scotland Committee, Professor Martin Hendry, Chair of the IOP Education Committee for Scotland and Michael Valente (left), from IOP’s Business Innovation and Growth Group Committee. Stuart Farmer gave an introductory talk on the IOP’s work and the importance of physics in society,



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