By Nolan Lewis
Sat. Oct. 16 marked the beginning of National Chemistry Week. To help kick off the event, the University of Calgary’s Chemistry Department exhibited the “Wonders of Chemistry” at Market Mall.
This year marks the 13th occasion of the exhibition, which has continued to grow since its beginning. They even had to relocate to a larger mall three years ago because of the expansion of the displays and the increased interest. Event organizer Majda Djordjevic explained the purpose of the demonstration is to provide fun and interactive displays to help popularize and promote the education on chemistry.
“It’s within everyone’s reach, from [ages] 8 to 85. Some experiments can even be done at home.”
Djordjevic also mentioned they might be recruiting some future chemist with the many astonished and curious children who took part in the various activities.
Overall the show included 18 different displays ranging from acids and bases in the household, electrochemistry, photochemistry and computers in chemistry. Many interactive stations and competitions were also included that encouraged participation from not only children but also everyone interested. These included “building molecules” and “guess the smell.” People even got to bring home keepsakes and prizes from their experience with the wonders of chemistry such as silver and gold pennies, slime and instructions on how to perform some of the different experiments in the home.
“The best part was handing them the sheet telling them how to do the experiment at home and watching the parents cringe,” explained Gavin Leonard, one of the 120 volunteers who helped to make the event such a success.
Djordjevic made clear her appreciation for the volunteers and all their hard work and patience. For the second year in a row, many interested volunteers consisting of students and faculty, had to be turned away due to the large amount of eager and interested individuals and the limited number of positions available. Those volunteers who did take part came away from the experience with just as much elation as those who visited their displays.
“The instructors who devised these experiments took the knowledge they have and made the experiments colourful, interesting, and best of all a lot of fun” affirms Leonard, who is at the U of C from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland to do research for the semester. “I spent practically all morning crushing pop cans with air pressure and water for kids, and the occasional eccentric adults who refused to believe the explanation as to how this was possible.”
Overall the event was a huge success, the displays were constantly crowded with a vast amount of enquiring and engrossed onlookers and participants. Everyone involved was pleased with the event and enjoyed the experience, as Leonard put it in true Fubar fashion.
“The kids were great, everything was amazing to them, they just wanted to ‘give’r’ and try everything!”