Museum stalwart has had a blast

If something goes bang in Dunedin, chances are it was caused by Amadeo Enriquez Ballestero.

The Otago Museum science communicator is well known for his "controlled" explosive science experiments — particularly among school children.

But after 20 years in what he calls his "dream job", he has reluctantly resigned so he can be closer to his partner, who is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Canterbury College of Education in Christchurch.

Mr Enriquez Ballestero will be teaching in a newly constructed science lab at Breens Intermediate School in Bishopdale.

The Spanish-born scientist said he was sad to be leaving the museum, but he was pleased his new job would allow him to regularly return to Dunedin to participate in science events.

"I have mixed emotions.

In his second-to-last week as Otago Museum science communicator, Amadeo Enriquez Ballestero ...
In his second-to-last week as Otago Museum science communicator, Amadeo Enriquez Ballestero (right) uses dry ice to have fun with Dunedin pupils (from left) Danielle Liu (13), Janielle Liu (10), James Stephenson (13), Damian Dyke (13), Jay Berry (12), Jorja Weir (12) and Addy Moore (13). PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
"I will be around. I have many trips back planned — that’s good.

"But I am leaving the museum after 20 years, which is a big deal.

"It’s my dream job. It’s something I’ve wanted since I was a kid."

His last day will be January 21 and he is already planning to go out with his biggest bang yet.

"I will be doing one big show on Friday at 1pm.

"It will depend on the weather. If we can go outside, we’ll do it outside and hopefully the Museum Reserve will not disappear," he joked.

"Otherwise we’ll do something smaller inside.

"My favourite chemical for big explosions has to be liquid nitrogen, so in one way or another, liquid nitrogen will definitely be involved."

An Otago Museum spokeswoman said Mr Enriquez Ballestero had created a whole new generation of young people who were passionate about science, and he would be missed.

"After so many years here, we are grateful for all that he has done, both for our institution and the community.

"He is brimming with enthusiasm, passionate about engaging children in science, and is just so much fun."

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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