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Rough Science 6 Colorado: Mountain Video Diaries: Ellen McCallie

Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2005

Exclusive video extra in which Ellen McCallie talks about the challenge for the Mountain programme, from the sixth BBC/OU TV series Rough Science, based in Colorado

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So what are you supposed to do when you’re told you have to measure the mass of a mountain and you’re given a bowl of water, a thermometer and a piece of plasticine?

This was the most insane challenge but it was, we did it, it was amazing! On day one, you know, we’re looking at this mountain trying to figure out where the edges were, then Hermione mentions something later about a route, well forget that, we didn’t deal with that ‘til the last day. But, you know, when we started boiling water I thought alright, maybe this’ll work, it’s really fiddly. But when it started matching up pretty much exactly with the tree line of the different types of trees, all of a sudden, by the end of day one I was sold, we were going to do this. Until I realised I had to make a model of plasticine just eyeballing it.

Now going up to the top of the mountain, that was fabulous, I got a really good sense of the shape of the mountain, and then we did drive around and I was able to make this model, but was it to scale? I mean really, was it to scale?

By day three I was completely convinced that something would happen. I didn’t know if it was going to be good or bad but I was going to have something. Did all the calculations, turned it over to Hermione and lo and behold we did it. We didn’t even just do it, when Hermione finished her calculations we were spot on. We measured a mat, we measured the mass of a mountain - you try to say that - with nothing.

That’s rough science.






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