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Lafayette student members of the American Chemical Society (ACS) are turning children on to science during National Chemistry Week, Nov. 6-10.

The society will present a demonstration for community children at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 9, in room 103 of the Hugel Science Center. The demonstration will be based on “kitchen chemistry,” the theme of this year’s National Chemistry Week. Demonstrations will involve ingredients that are found in the kitchen, including baking soda, vinegar, soda, eggs, spaghetti, cabbage juice, and ice cream. Presentations will also include exploding balloons of various gases, making a silver mirror, and playing with liquid nitrogen.

ACS is also marking National Chemistry Week by conducting a food drive, collecting donations that will be given to the Salvation Army on Spring Garden Street in Easton. Students are donating food in collection boxes set up in Hugel Science Center and the Farinon College Center.

Leading the effort are ACS president Christine Thomas, a senior from Cinnaminson, N.J., and the other officers, vice president Kelly Rourke ’01 (Stoneham, Mass.), secretary Elizabeth Westgate ’01 (Maynard, Mass.), and treasurer Kevin Krueger ’01 (Hicksville, N.Y.).

Other participating students include Alison Campbell ’04 (West Chester, Pa.), Michelle Ferguson ’04 (Wallingford, Conn.), Janna Pachuski ’02 (Kulpmont, Pa.), Abby O’Connor ’03 (Newton, N.J.), Gina Nubile ’01 (Pottstown, Pa.), John Kim ’02 (Easton, Pa.), Katie Wyckoff ’01 (Princeton, N.J.), Chris Fazen ’02 (Moscow, Pa.), Becky Wiza ’01 (Mohrsville, Pa.), Kathy Gelato ’01 (Ocean View, Del.), and Amanda Ohs ’03 (St. Paul, Minn.).

“Its important to do events like this to get kids involved in chemistry and the other sciences at an early age,” Thomas says. “In school, science can really be intimidating to children who aren’t exposed to the exciting and mysterious aspects of science in everyday life. Events such as those we are sponsoring are an excellent way to get children to be more aware and interested in science in their surroundings.”

The chapter’s adviser is William H. Miles, associate professor and assistant head of chemistry.

“National Chemistry Week is an outreach event that tries to bring the excitement of chemistry and science to the general public,” says Miles. “The children enjoy the experiments and outwardly show an enthusiasm for almost anything.”

Founded in 1876, the ACS is a professional organization of 161,000 members representing many different disciplines including chemical engineering and geology at all degree levels.

The Student Affiliates were founded in 1937, of which Lafayette College is with its own-chartered chapter. Although there are only a couple of students who are official due-paying members of the ACS, about thirty others come to meeting and participate in chapter activities.

Anyone may show up for meetings and/or activities, however to be a member of the ACS one must be nominated by a member.

For the past three years Lafayette’s chapter of the ACS has been going into local elementary school during National Chemistry Week. Two years ago the ACS held a two-day long event at the Crayola Factory in downtown Easton. This will be the first year a demo show will be presented on campus.

Besides holding monthly meetings and conducting events during National Chemistry Week, ACS sponsors appearances by outside speakers, hosts talks by Lafayette chemistry faculty and students on research projects. Last year the club also sponsored a demonstration show on campus called the “Blow Stuff Up Show.” There are also several social functions, including a holiday party in December, and an end-of-year picnic.

Categorized in: Academic News