Guinness World Records has recognized Israel’s Science and Technology Ministry for holding the "largest chemistry lesson" in the world. The lesson drew 4,207 participants in 13 locations country-wide.

 Israel sets Guinness world record for largest chemistry lesson

 

School children take part in an experiment at Tel Aviv University (Photo courtesy Ministry of Science and Technology)

(Ministry of Science and Technology)

The Israel Ministry of Science and Technology organized a mass-participant experiment in chemistry which toke place simultaneously in 13 research institutions in Israel. The experiment is a reenactment of an experiment performed in the space shuttle Columbia in 2003 by the first Israeli astronaut – the late Colonel Ilan Ramon.

The experiment was conducted on Researchers’ Night, on September 22, 2011. Researchers’ Night is an annual, European event, supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the European Union, in which science institutes open their doors to the general public in order to bring them closer to science. Since the UN General Assembly declared 2011 the International Year of Chemistry, Israel is dedicating its Researchers’ Night events this year to chemistry.

 Israel sets Guinness world record for largest chemistry lesson

School children take part in an experiment at Tel Aviv University
(Photo courtesy Ministry of Science and Technology)

The simple experiment was easy to perform even for people who had no prior knowledge in chemistry or other sciences. It is a variation of the "chemical garden" experiment which was also performed in 2003 by the first Israeli astronaut in space – the late Colonel Ilan Ramon. At that time, a group of Israeli school children had asked Ramon to carry out the experiment on his mission in the space shuttle Columbia, which he did, six hours after the shuttle’s launch. As is well known, Columbia broke apart during its reentry into the earth’s atmosphere and tragically, all astronauts were killed.

The record for a single venue – a separate category – was set earlier this year in Belgium, with 562 participants.

According to Prof. Daniel Hershkovitz the Minister of Science and Technology, the initiative aimed to bring the general public, particularly the younger generation, closer to science by making it more accessible, to raise public awareness of science and of the Researchers’ Night events and to commemorate the late Col. Ilan Ramon and his accomplishments for science.

The institutes participated in the record attempt were: the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Haifa University, Tel-Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, Ben-Gurion University, MadaTech – the Israel National Museum of Science, the Kiryat Yam Science Garden, the Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem, the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research institution, Shamoon College of Engineering, the Ort Braude College, Hemda-Science Education Centre, Kiryat Motzkin municipality  and the Jerusalem College of Engineering.

 Israel sets Guinness world record for largest chemistry lesson

The event at MadaTech in Haifa drew 688 participants
(Photo courtesy Ministry of Science and Technology)