FMU’s chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS) hosted demonstrations Oct.19toOct.23asapart of National Chemistry Week (NCW) that focused on this year’s theme: “chemistry colors our world.”
NCW is a week when chemists raise awareness about the usefulness and presence of chemistry in the world.Itisalsoanopportunity to show chemistry in a more approachable way.
“I think National Chemistry Week is important to get rid of the stigma attached to chemistry as a dry and dull subject,” Caroline Granger, junior chemistry major and secretary of ACS, said. “We show unique and also extremely important everyday applications that chemists use.”
According to Colby Witt, junior biology and chemistry major and treasurer of ACS, NCW is an opportunity for people outside of chemistry to see a more fun side of the eld.
“The word chemistry has a negative connotation attached to it,” Witt said. “With events like this, we are able to show that chemistry is practical and beautiful.”
“Chemistry colors our world” focuses on how pigments, dyes and rainbows are the products of chemistry. Members of ACS demonstrated and explained the chemistry making it happen. These demonstrations included bubbles, Orbeez, UV beads and colored wicks.
The activities were interactive. Students were able to inspect Orbeez before dropping them in water and watching them disappear. This demonstrated the refractive index. Students blew bubbles and learned why the rainbow is visible inside the bubble.
One of the demonstrations allowed students to see the diffraction gradients of different elements and the colors given off by each element, through 3-D lenses. Each atom has its own unique color pattern, which is used by chemists to identify gases.
“[This demo] showed that all elements, just like us, have an individual nger print,” Witt said.
ACS members said that NCW was not only a learning experience for FMU students that are not chemistry majors, but for them as well.
“It helped me learn how to explain concepts that I learned so that people who hadn’t been exposed to the topics can not only understand but also and interest,” Granger said.
Students who took the time to visit the ACS booth walked away with more knowledge about chemistry, bumper stickers and UV bead bracelets. Members of ACS asked trivia questions to students regarding chemistry. Students who answered correctly were awarded with an ACS T-shirt.
The week ended with Mole Day. Mole Day runs from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m. on Oct. 23. This day honors Avogadro’s number, which is 6.02 x 10^23 and is used as a conversion factor in many chemistry problems. ACS honored Mole Day by handing out handmade moles to students.
“We all know that a mole is a chemist’s best friend,” Witt said.
Students from all majors who are interested in joining ACS are encouraged to. The group meets the rst Tuesday of each month at 4:45 p.m. in Leatherman Science Facility 301.