If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



De-skunking Video Wins ‘Everyday Chemistry’ Contest

by Linda Wang
August 26, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 34

Credit: Bytesize Science


Sally Mitchell, a chemistry teacher at East Syracuse Minoa High School, in Syracuse, N.Y., is the winner of the first annual “Everyday Chemistry” video contest, sponsored by C&EN, the American Chemical Society Office of Public Affairs, the ACS Office of International Activities, and ACS President Marinda Li Wu.

Credit: Courtesy of Sally Mitchell
Mitchell de-skunks her dog using chemistry.
Photo shows Sally Mitchell washing her dog of skunk smell.
Credit: Courtesy of Sally Mitchell
Mitchell de-skunks her dog using chemistry.

Mitchell’s video explains the chemistry behind de-skunking a dog, an idea inspired by her own experiences ridding her dog of the foul odor using a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and soap. “I just love getting the message out about chemistry,” she says. And videos offer her a new tool to connect with her students and the general public, notes Mitchell, who is a Chemistry Ambassador for ACS and the 2009 recipient of the society’s James Bryant Conant Award in High School Chemistry Teaching.

In fact, videos are a great way to share chemistry with nonscientists, says Nancy Blount, assistant director of society communications in the Office of Public Affairs.

Entries in the video contest were required to be less than two minutes and feature either a favorite chemistry tip or the chemistry behind an everyday phenomenon. The competition highlights the importance of ACS’s Chemistry Ambassadors and celebrates C&EN’s 90th anniversary. Submissions came from around the U.S., as well as from Malaysia and South Africa.

Mitchell will receive a trip to the fall ACS national meeting in Indianapolis, where she will be recognized at C&EN’s anniversary event featuring Alton Brown.

Other winners of the video contest include Kayla Briët, a high school student from La Mirada, Calif., who took second place for her video featuring fun facts about household items, and Tien Nguyen, a chemistry graduate student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who took third place for her rap video on baking bread.

Honorable mentions went to Chad Jones, a chemistry graduate student at Brigham Young University, for his video on how vision works, and Jason W. Ribblett, assistant professor of chemistry at Ball State University, for his video on how diapers work.

Credit: Bytesize Science


Credit: Bytesize Science


Credit: Bytesize Science


Credit: Bytesize Science


The winning videos will be featured on

Announcements of ACS news may be sent to


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.