Chemistry department hosts annual Halloween show

Prince Ou, Contributing Writer

The fifth annual Halloween Chemistry Show was hosted at the McDonnell Amphitheater on Oct. 30.

The show was coordinated by members of the American Chemistry Society and faculty from the chemistry department. Professor of Chemistry David Rovnyak and chemistry laboratory Director Pat Martino organized the show, while Assistant Professor of Chemistry Douglas Collins hosted the show.

In the first experiment, seven students consecutively poured hydrogen peroxide into seven pumpkins, filled with potassium iodide and soapy water in different colors. Then fluorescing, colored froths came out of the pumpkins’ “mouths.”

For one experiment, a student created a fireball. In another experiment with fire called “Pumpkins on Fire,” students used a fire gun to set three pumpkins on fire. Alcohol on the pumpkins’ surfaces made the three pumpkins look as if they were burning magically. Fireworks were also lit coming from pumpkins.

Some of the experiments involved explosions. For one of them, students set explosions inside pumpkins and the pumpkins all burst into pieces, falling to the ground. For another experiment, students blasted the pumpkins a few meters above the ground. Students generated small explosions from balloons filled with hydrogen gas. The largest explosion came from the final experiment that students placed ping pong balls in the pumpkins and set an explosion that blasted both the balls and pumpkins off the ground. 

“It enhanced my interest in chemistry,” Jimmy Zhu ’23 said. “I was amazed by these chemical reactions. The explosions were also splendid!”

Before the show started at 7 p.m., there were several activities for kids, such as making slime, non-Newtonian fluids and “dress like a scientist.” Kids who were selected by the host to join the pumpkin-decorating contest were split into two teams and used colorful ornaments to decorate their pumpkins.

“It is always about community,” Collins said. “The purpose of the show is to bring the community into [the University] and let them experience science.”

(Visited 39 times, 1 visits today)