CRIEFF will be seeing more wide-eyed children staring into sweetie shop windows as a project kicks off to help them spot the science behind their treats.

A sweetie shop, woollen mill and delicatessen are among those participating in the Crieff Molecule Hunt, aimed at showing youngsters that science is everywhere.

As the Association for Science Education's 'Science Fun Factory' at the Crieff Hydro approaches (Saturday 9 March 2013), local children and their families are being invited to spot the molecules lurking in 17 shop windows in Crieff.

Displayed in shops such as Gordon and Durward, Delvino, The Red Squirrel, J. L. Gill and Edinburgh Woolen Mill, the molecules are linked to what the shops produce or sell - from theobromine in chocolate flavouring to tartaric acid, an additive used in cheese production, the caffeine in our coffee and oleic acid, a constituent of olive oil.

The hunt will run from Wednesday 27 February until Wednesday 6 March with participants completing a simple form as they spot their molecules. By dropping the form into the Science Fun Factory at Crieff Hydro before midday on Saturday 9 March, they will be entered into a prize draw, competing for molecule model kits or popular science books.

With an emphasis on 'hands-on' activities, promising to be hair-raising, illuminating and engaging, local communities, hotel guests and delegates' families are all welcome to attend the Science Fun Factory. With indoor and outdoor elements, visitors can take part in fun and messy experiments and science workshops, enjoy a planetarium show, design, make and test rockets, take part in a robotic challenge and even embark on a molecule hunt, accompanied by molecule model making!

Steuart Cuthbert, Field Officer Scotland, The Association for Science Education said: "The Crieff Molecule Hunt aims to show local families that science, particularly chemistry, is everywhere and that science isn't just restricted to those working in labs. By looking beyond the conference and opening youngsters' minds to science, we can enthuse them and help develop a great interest at school and further afield."

Forms to take part in the Molecule Hunt are available in all of the participating shops, and from science departments of local schools.

The Science Fun Factory is free and non-bookable.

For more information, please contact Steuart Cuthbert - telephone 01764 670751, email or website

PIC CAP: Eilidh Cuthbert - age 9 outside Gordon and Durward.