EXPERIMENTING: Ruben Meerman shows how oxygen liquefies after pouring liquid nitrogen over an inflated balloon.
EXPERIMENTING: Ruben Meerman shows how oxygen liquefies after pouring liquid nitrogen over an inflated balloon. Mike Knott BUN270219RUB2

Ruben making waves in science education

RUBEN Meerman, also known as the surfing scientist, was in the living rooms of children across Australia on the ABC's Rollercoaster children's program.

Undertaking a physics degree after finishing school, he said his drive to pursue science was to get answers to the world's big questions.

Now, Mr Meerman has brought science back to his home town of Bundaberg in a bid to add atoms to the school curriculum at a younger age.

For the past 12 months he has been working with Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation to develop a way for students and teachers to understand how their body works.

The big question he's asking teachers and students is where the carbon dioxide we exhale comes from.

"Some of the teachers don't even know the answer to that question,” he said.

"Basically, when you think carbo, you get carbohydrates and carbohydrates come from food.

"So all of the food you eat turns into carbon dioxide and some water and you breathe it all out.”

He said teaching kids at a young age was critical.

"You learn best when you're young and it's the right time to teach concepts that take a little while to get,” he said.

"They absolutely love it, they literally can't get enough of doing the experiments and learning how the world works.”

He said it was surprising to discover no one he spoke to knew where the carbon dioxide came from, which is where the work on his latest project began.

Mr Meerman has visited every school in Bundaberg to pitch the initiative to teachers and science faculty heads.

"The first step was to find out if Bundaberg's teachers would want to do this, and so I now can say overwhelmingly, 'Yes, they want to teach kids about atoms'.”

"To think Bundaberg could be a STEM learning hub is such a great thing.”