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Andy's weekly cafe

Each week Andy will take questions from the group about current science related news

As we come to the end of our final week, do you have any questions on what is happening in the world of chemistry, including in the area of sports? You may have seen some science news in the media whilst the course has been ‘running’, and this is our chance to make sure we can all stay abreast of what’s topical and how it might affect us all going forward.

For example, did you see the recent research on runner’s compression tights, which are made of stretchy fabrics like spandex?

Or did you hear about Nike’s controversial Zoom Vaporfly Elite shoes? According to Nike, they boost running economy by 4% compared with their next best marathon shoes. The soles of the trainers have a special curved plate that allows runners to “roll through” instead of bending toes and losing energy. Some believe this should be banned in competitions, as it gives athletes too much of an advantage – in 2019, 31 of the 36 podium positions in the six world marathon majors were won by elite athletes wearing Vaporfly.

Or perhaps the development of a device, the size of a wristwatch, that can monitor an individual’s body chemistry to help improve athletic performance and identify potential health problems?

Or that researchers have discovered that cricket bats made from bamboo might help batters hit farther and faster than those made from willow? Whereas willow trees take around 15 years to mature, and bat makers often discard up to 30% of the wood due to imperfections, bamboo is fast-growing and inexpensive, so it could help make the sport more affordable.

Please pose any questions you have in the Comments below or using Twitter or Instagram hashtag #FLChemistry by noon of Thursday this week. We will then post our short video, which brings together some of the most interesting topics, on the following day (on Friday this week).

Don’t miss out on the chance to share what’s on your mind!

End of Course Competition

Finally, why not download the final digital badge as a memento of completing the fourth and final week of our course. Now that you have a complete set, you can use the icons in all 4 digital images to help you spell out the names of two different things. The following clues may help you:

Item 1: Named after its use by Hippocrates, it is sometimes found in a gym and was first made from silicon dioxide and a receptacle of a liquid

Item 2: A source of vitamin C that is orangey-red in colour and available from local supermarkets

The first learner to correctly identify both items in the comments section below will be awarded a Chemistry@York fidget spinner, a molecular model set and a Chemistry@York water bottle. (This competition is being run by Andy / University of York and is not affiliated with FutureLearn and any personal details submitted by the learner will only be used for the purpose of sending the prize.)

Give it a go!

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Exploring Everyday Chemistry

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