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Queen encounters 'hocus pocus' as she opens Royal Institution

May 28, 2008
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The Queen looked like she'd walked in on a lesson at Harry Potter's Hogwart's School of Witchcraft And Wizardry as plumes of smoke swirled towards the ceiling from a glass jar during an experiment conducted by eager children.

The monarch wasn't on a film set, though. She was watching some of the young scientists of tomorrow perform a demonstration while touring the Royal Institution Of Great Britain's revamped headquarters.

Dedicated to scientific research and education for more than 200 years, the organisation recently underwent a £22-million refurbishment of its central London base to provide better visitor facilities and use of space.

Also on the agenda during the royal visit was an unusual lesson in culinary chemistry. Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal showed how to make ice cream out of an apple and liquid nitrogen.

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Photo: ©
The British monarch looked on with interest as winners of a competition run by National Geographic Kids Magazine demonstrated their science skillsy
Photo: ©
It was one of several experiments witnessed by the Queen as she toured the famous science institute's revamped London headquarters
Photo: ©
The building in central London has undergone a £22 million refurbishment to provide better visitor facilities and use of space

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