• Question: have you ever done an experiment that went terribly wrong

    Asked by Maya to Camilla, Katie, Mike, Rhys on 24 Jun 2015.
    • Photo: Camilla Weiss

      Camilla Weiss answered on 24 Jun 2015:

      I’ve not done anything that’s gone catastrophically wrong. I’ve definitely left a few holes in chemistry lab benches over the years though. In science and engineering things go wrong all the time, modules don’t work experiments fail – it’s how we learn. If something hasn’t worked, we want to know why and this helps us better understand what we’re doing. Some of the greatest inventions and discoveries have been the result of an experiment gone wrong. Years ago scientists built a radio antenna to try to pick up signals from the milky way. They couldn’t pick up any signals because they kept just getting noise and thought that their design and experiment had failed. In the end they discovered that they were actually listening to radiation left over from the beginning of the universe, which lead to the big bang theory becoming scientifically accepted…

    • Photo: Katie Hassell

      Katie Hassell answered on 24 Jun 2015:

      I have done a few experiments that have gone wrong, mostly at school, but I don’t really do experiments now, so it certainly happens less.
      I Do make mistakes though, in fact, I made a mistake earlier this year that I spent a whole month of weekends putting right so that I didn’t miss my deadline – was so relived when it all worked!