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BYU professors and students get ready for National Chemistry Week

BYU professors and students get ready for National Chemistry Week

By Peter Samore | Posted - Oct. 16, 2011 at 8:30 p.m.

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PROVO -- Chemistry fills most aspects of human life, and BYU will prove that by heating, freezing and exploding things.

BYU celebrates National Chemistry Week Oct. 17-22, and hopes to get kids and adults of all ages excited to learn how this science functions in their daily lives. This year's theme is "Chemistry - Our Health, Our Future," and will show the science's reach into our food, medicines and synthetic products.

Professor David Dearden will mix freeze products, explode hydrogen balloons and mix some peroxides and iodine for his audiences. He seeks to amaze.

"I'll ask the kids what color it is, and I always manage to ask them at a different time than when I'm looking. I tease them about not knowing their colors, and this goes on and on for a while."

Dearden and his team will demonstrate a gasoline engine and explode some hydrogen balloons, and they'll pull some other tricks out of their sleeves on campus.

"We'll play with some liquid nitrogen and maybe liquid oxygen, and show how things behave differently when they're really cold, and how you can shrink a balloon down to nothing and have it re-inflate," he said.

Dearden said that our basic foods, clothing and the air we breathe involve some sort of chemistry.

"Sometimes I think chemistry is the Rodney Dangerfield of science; it doesn't get enough respect," Dearden said.

The nightly demonstrations are free and open for people of all ages, but reservations are recommended.

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Peter Samore


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