National Chemistry Week brings liquid nitrogen ice cream to the Benson

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Y-Chem, the BYU chemistry club, celebrated National Chemistry Week by selling ice cream made with liquid nitrogen in the Benson Building.

Members of Y-Chem volunteered to run a booth, which sold small cups of ice cream for a dollar. This is the big fundraising event of the year for the club.

The chemistry club, Y-chem, made ice cream to fundraise on National Chemistry Week. Photo by Ari Davis
The chemistry club Y-chem made ice cream to fundraise during National Chemistry Week. (Photo by Ari Davis)

“To make the ice cream, you pour the liquid nitrogen into the bowl with ice cream base in it,” said Tania Nance, a member of Y-Chem and a biochemistry major at BYU. “When the liquid nitrogen freezes it turns into an ice cream.”

At least one member of the club must have a food handler’s permit when running the booth. According to the students, their other training came from the safety classes they take through the chemistry major.

The sign advertising the ice cream said the choice of vanilla or chocolate ice cream is not like a Wendy’s Frosty or Sub Zero ice cream.

“Ice crystals don’t have time to form, so it is very smooth when you eat it, unlike Wendy’s frosties, which sometimes have ice chunks,” said JoAnna Brown, a chemistry education major who volunteered to run the Y-Chem booth. “It’s similar to Sub Zero; they make it the same way. But we use the BYU soft serve base, and I think it tastes better.”

The club made more than $400 in four days, and that amount didn’t include its Friday sales. The booth was open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the week of Oct. 21–25.

Additionally, the ice cream was sold in the evening for the chemistry magic shows, which were also in honor of National Chemistry Week.

The ice cream has been popular, but each opinion varies based on personal preference.

“It is pretty creamy and actually a little above average; I wouldn’t say it is phenomenal, but it is really good,” said Cort Trejo, a BYU student from Temecula, Calif., who walked out of his class and bought an ice cream. “It kind of tastes like a frosty, but better and creamier.”

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