American Chemical Society’s Spooky Science Show

Madison Weaver, Contributing Writer

On Oct. 20, the University’s student chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS) hosted an event in the spirit of Halloween and National Chemistry Week: a night of spooky science education for children and families of Lewisburg, Pa.

Hosted outside in the McDonnell Amphitheater with pumpkins galore, the show captured the spirit of Halloween. Ccoordinated by members of ACS, faculty, and University chemistry students, the show attracted community members of all ages.

The University’s ACS chapter has approximately 15 active members and coordinates activities involving chemistry, especially during National Chemistry Week (Oct. 18-24).

ACS President Kevin Garcia ’16 described the group as “a national organization about all things chemistry! From college to high school to middle school clubs [we] just spread the word about chemistry.”

To help the children and families who attended the event understand chemistry, ACS members set up spooky, science-themed tables.

“We had slime, screaming balloons, and dress-up like a scientist,” Natasha Basset ’16 said.

Members of the science department also created Halloween-themed experiments, incorporating music, lights, and audience members. Demonstrations included puking pumpkins, Styrofoam-eating jack-o-lanterns, and even a pumpkin-decorating contest between University professors. Lewisburg Area High School students assisted in a large-scale display of the classic Diet Coke and Mentos explosion. Chemistry Laboratory Director Pat Martino also played a vital role in preparing the Halloween chemistry show.

“It was a lot of fun, a lot of preparation, and we couldn’t have done it without Professor Martino,” Garcia  said.

Martino said that his students worked extremely hard for “two or three weeks, with a mad rush in the past 48 hours” to pull the show together.

“We had a lot of help from facilities, the equipment desk, Public Safety; everyone helped out, especially Events Management. I had to rely a lot on them to guide us through setting something like this up,” Martino said.

The group was appreciative of the help from University resources in the show’s first annual event.

“We were on board the whole time. I loved it,” Garcia said.

The show seemed equally a hit with audience members, who packed the amphitheater and ranged from young children to adults.

“We were thrilled with the turnout … That’s what the whole event was for, getting a bunch of kids from the community to come see what science is all about,” Martino said.

The University’s ACS chapter is already discussing plans to host the Halloween Chemistry Show again next year with a tentative date set for Oct. 18.

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