SEE Great Geobakeoff 2016

Here we present the results from the 2016 SEE Great Geobakeoff


Overall winner: ESSI’s Synchrotron Cake

Schchrotrontastic: when did you ever eat such a shiny cake?

The overall winner which particularly wowed the judges with its flavour was ESSI’s synchrotron cake, created by Jen Rodley and Gemma Woodward. They made a synchrotron in cake form, as you might see at Diamond Light Source in Harwell, near Oxford. Inside the shiny silver exterior the electron raspberries travelled so fast around the chocolate cake at 7.5 times per second, creating X-rays to investigate the structure of samples. The base level shows example spectra that the synchrotron might produce, with different peaks relating to different elements.


Other fabulous entries included…


Python Cakes

Debugging has never been so delicious

Kirsty Pringle from the newly formed CEMAC (Center of Excellence for Modelling the Atmosphere and Climate) made these cakes as an example of the Python code to help the aerosol group visualise their model data. These symbols represent the tools Kirsty uses every day – Python and cake.


Volcanology’s Chocolate Volcano

When dome collapse gets delicious

Claire Harnett, Chris Moore and Dinko Sindija’s volcano cake exploded onto the scene, featuring rice crispies and chocolate block pyroclastic flow from the collapse of an old lava dome. This flow destroyed some icing houses whilst gummy people stood by helplessly. A new lava dome is forming in the crater after the previous dome collapse and all the deformation was visible from space, as seen from the sprinkles representing an interferogram of dome inflation. Delicious chocolate blocks from previous flows and ballistics were visible all around the cake.

Sprinkles interferogram showing volcanic deformation. Note that sprinkles were separated by colour from a mixed pack painstakingly by hand.


Tectonic’s Italian Earthquake Cake



Ruth Amey and Katy Willis from the Tectonics group recreated this photo of Laura Gregory and Huw Goodall standing on a fault scarp from an earthquake that happened during their fieldwork in Italy in October this year. The entire fault scarp, shown by marzipan on the cake, was created during just one earthquake! The earthquake caused several chocolate honeycomb landslides as well as new sugarglass springs to be created overnight out of the coconut grass. The fault surface, including its slickenslides, was measured using an icing LiDAR scanner. It was a normal faulting earthquake, and icing arrows on the side show how the vanilla sponge was offset during the earthquake event. Multiple earthquakes like this one have created the topography of the chocolate ganache mountain. The original picture was taken from a helicopter which Huw Goodall recreated in icing.




Delightful to meet you!

How do you do?

It was lovely to meet you all at our introductory meeting on Tuesday. Especially when we know how hard it is to navigate all the various department buildings on campus, and then somehow sneak through the closed-after-5pm doors! So – we really appreciate your effort.


And what a great brainstorming session! Ideas for fundraising, events and outreach… watch out Leeds, we’re gonna make ’em happen!

You know a fundraising activity is good when it requires a picture to describe exactly what it entails…
QUIZ! Did you think if you wrote it big and bold we’d notice it more? YOU WERE RIGHT!
You’re right, that does say ‘BRAINZ!!’. No, it’s not a joke – there are neuroscientists amongst us…

Thanks for your help, everyone! Sure hope you had enough biscuits, too.

Pun time.

What did the orange squash say to the orange juice?

….I’m diluted to meet you!

Leeds Uni Freshers’ Fair

Did you miss us at Freshers’ Fair? We certainly missed you.

But not to worry, because here are the highlights!

‘Oh no, she’s taking a photo of us… quick, look busy!’ Photo credit: Anna Woolman

Here’s our ‘What’s on’ Flier:


Here’s our GM crop debate flier:


We’re really excited about this one – it’s the start of a series of debates, where we get in experts to talk about a topical issue in science, with plenty of time for questions!

Do make sure you come along, and do get in touch if there are topics you’d like to hear about in the future!

And, excitingly… the science Quiz! Put together by Jo Robinson. If you weren’t able to fill it in then, maybe you’d like to try your hand now…

Photo credit: Anna Woolman

What did Leeds scientist Joseph Priestly discover?

a) A new type of sea creature

b) Oxygen

c) A planet

Which is the largest planet in our solar system?

a) Saturday

b) Neptune

c) Jupiter

How is deoxyribonucleic acid better known?

a) Oxy

b) Amylase

c) DNA

What is the last letter of the Greek alphabet?

a) Omega

b) Epsilon

c) Tau

What is the name given to the protective blanket of gasses which surround the earth?

a) Hydrosphere

b) Ozone layer

c) Atmosphere

Congratulations to Ash Milliard – you are the glorious winner! (And, incidentally, one of only TWO people who got them all right. How embarrassed are the rest of you feeling right now?…)

And some more photos:

‘You see, I know you only came over for the free chocolate, but I really think you’d like to be signed up to our mailing list…’                                           Photo credit: Anna Woolman
‘No way, you love science? I love science too!’ Photo credit: Anna Woolman
Oh boy, that C6H12O6 sure looks good…                              Photo credit: Anna Woolman

Last but not least, the puns…

The name’s bond… Hydrogen bond.

How do you organise a space party? You planet.

Never trust an atom. They make everything up.