Wednesday, October 24, 2007

UIS Chemistry Club Gets Creative with Celebration

By Courtney Westlake

Brightly-colored concoctions bubbling over in the Public Affairs Center on Thursday had many passerby stopping with interest, and members of the UIS Chemistry Club took the opportunity to educate their audience and showcase fascinating chemistry demonstrations.

"We are doing these demonstrations that anyone else could do with simple household chemicals," said Dr. Harshavardhan Bapat, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and faculty adviser of the Chemistry Club.

In honor of National Chemistry Week, the Chemistry Club planned an array of events, starting with the clebration of Mole Day on Tuesday, Bapat said.

"The mole measures a huge collection of either atoms or ions or anything like that; the mole is kind of like a chemist's dozen," Bapat said. "To remember the number, which is 6.022 x 10 to the 23, chemists try to remember it on the 23rd of October (the tenth month)."

The club held a presentation on Mole Day by making ice cream using liquid nitrogen, and then on Wednesday, Oct. 24, the Chemistry Club held a drawing for a free t-shirt.

The celebration of National Chemistry Week will be capped off on Monday evening, Oct. 29, with a program called "Is it Chemistry or is it Magic?," Bapat said. The free presentation will be held in Brookens Auditorium at 7 p.m. and will include unique and compelling chemistry demonstrations by nationally-known chemists from Illinois State University and Heartland Community College in Bloomington.

"The main idea is to make people aware that chemistry is an absolutely important and central science to our lives," Bapat said. "We really can't have all of the amenities and luxuries that we are so used to without chemistry. Chemistry is everywhere, and it plays an extremely important role in our wellbeing, as well as our lives."