Club works to raise awareness of chemistry


Junior Yana Sivolobova prepared a Periodic Table of Cupcakes for the Chemistry Olympics that the FMU’s chapter of the ACS hosted on Oct. 22.

Staci Poston, Assistant Editor

Francis Marion’s chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS) hosted Chemistry Olympics on Friday, Oct. 22 in celebration of National Chemistry Week.

National Chemistry Week spanned from Oct. 17 to Oct. 23. The theme this year was “Behind the Scenes with Chemistry.” FMU’s ACS held the Chemistry Olympics in order to show students what happens “behind the scenes” and give them opportunities for hands-on experience. The activities simultaneously provided entertainment and education.

The Chemistry Olympics featured games such as periodic table twister, pin the functional group on the benzene ring, guess how many grains of sand makes 10 grams, toss the cork ring on the ring stand, blindfolded mouth pipetting, speed molecular model building, titrate to the lightest pink in 30 seconds and a mole scavenger hunt.

Dr. Jennifer Kelley, assistant professor of chemistry and adviser for FMU’s ACS, said that between 80 and 85 participants came to the event.

Junior Cierra Buckman, who worked the pin the functional group on the benzene ring game, said that she was pleased with the crowd that came to the Chemistry Olympics.

“I think we had a pretty good turnout,” Buckman said. “I’m glad people came out and played the games. I enjoyed watching people play periodic table twister.”

Kelley said that the titrations and blindfolded mouth pipetting were the two games that were favored the most. She also said that students tended to like trying to win t-shirts and stuffed moles for prizes.

Buckman said that she enjoyed playing the games as well as managing her station.

“I won a prize!” Buckman said. “I got an ‘experiment with a chemist’ bumper sticker.”

Al Knowlton, a senior chemistry major, worked at the mouth pipetting table during the event. He instructed participants about mouth pipetting, blindfolded them and then enjoyed their attempts to draw up the correct amount of liquid without being able to see what they were doing.

“Running the mouth pipetting booth was fun,” Knowlton said. “It proved why we don’t pipette by mouth anymore.”

Kelley said that her favorite activity at the Chemistry Olympics was blindfolded mouth pipetting.

“I liked the blindfolded mouth pipetting because it is taboo in the lab,” Kelley said. “And a few people swallowed some pickle juice.”

Knowlton said that the speed titration game was his personal favorite.

“I’m a chemistry nerd, and it gave me a chance to show off my mad chemistry skills,” Knowlton said.

Junior English major Alyssa Carver attended the event, played some games and won a t-shirt.

“A chemistry major suggested that I come see what’s going on, and I’m glad I did,” Carver said.

Even though she is an English major and hasn’t taken any chemistry classes in college, Carver said that she enjoyed the games and didn’t find them hard to understand.

“I felt like they made it easy for everyone to participate,” Carver said

The next meeting of FMU’s ACS will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 9. Dr. Lufkin, the former chair of FMU’s Nursing Department, will be giving advice on attending Nursing School. The club is also planning a Holiday Party for their last meeting of the semester on Tuesday, Nov. 30. The chemistry-themed party will give traditional holiday favorites a chemistry twist and will include songs such as “Twas the Night to Make Crystals.”