Hundreds of children were riveted by chemistry demonstrations during the Chemistry Festival held on Aug. 3–4 in Beijing. The event kicked off the 29th Chinese Chemical Society (CCS) Congress, hosted by Peking University. Thirty volunteers from Peking University and the international chapters of the American Chemical Society in Shanghai and Hong Kong entertained the kids and their parents with a variety of hands-on activities, including testing pH with natural indicators and poking a polymer. ACS, CCS, and Peking University jointly organized the crowd-pleasing event.
The Chemistry Festival is an ACS community outreach activity that depends on volunteers to communicate the importance of chemistry in our daily lives, says ACS Director-at-Large Ingrid Montes. Montes popularized the Chemistry Festival in Puerto Rico, where it is known as Festival de Química. It has traveled to Chile, Colombia, and Mexico; it will arrive in Peru in October.
As the festival’s master teacher, Montes trains local volunteers to perform the demonstrations and to teach others so that future events can be run by local groups. Volunteers from Shanghai and Hong Kong trained by Montes intend to bring the festival to their communities.
The 2014 CCS Congress, held on Aug. 4–7, drew about 8,000 attendees, the highest attendance ever, according to meeting organizers.