Chemistry Magic show educates and entertains

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    By Kerstin Lundgren

    It is as crowd pleasing as a basketball game, as educational as your history class, and as dangerous as your roommate’s cooking.

    The Chemical Magic Show has brought many college, high school and elementary school students to BYU this week.

    Steve Fleming, professor of chemistry and host of the Chemical Magic Show, said he continues to present this show year after year because he wants to educate and excite people about science.

    Fleming’s Wednesday night, Nov. 8, performance included turning a carnation into a brittle-pedaled flower, making six petri dishes house flames of different colors, and causing balloon explosions.

    All these tricks happen because of chemistry, he said.

    Everything around us is either a chemical property or a result of a chemical reaction, Fleming said.

    The sun we feel, the air we breathe and the sounds we hear are because of chemistry.

    Rachel Smith, 16, a student at Provo High School, went to the Chemical Magic Show with girls in her young women’s group.

    “Chemistry is something my friends always talk about, but something I don’t know about,” Smith said.

    She learned more about chemistry from the show, but also enjoyed the tricks, especially the explosions, she said.

    Fleming along with other professors and students take turns hosting the Chemical Magic Show. The last show will be on Friday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. in W111 BNSN.

    It is one event, of many, to celebrate National Chemistry Week put on by YChem, the student affiliated organization of the American Chemical Society.

    David Dearden, associate professor of chemistry, said this year’s theme for National Chemistry Week is “Kitchen Chemistry.”

    “We want to emphasize how chemistry affects the everyday person,” Dearden said.

    Cooking is even a part of chemistry, he said.

    Chemistry students illustrated this by making samples of ice cream from liquid nitrogen that were given out after the Chemical Magic Show.

    Jason Jardine, 24, a senior from Phoenix, majoring in chemistry, said the purpose of National Chemistry Week is to promote chemistry in schools of all levels.

    This week professors are going to local schools to talk about chemistry and putting on the Chemical Magic Shows.

    Students are displaying their projects in the hallway of the BNSN and participating in a food drive.

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