ACS local sections share highlights from National Chemistry Week 2017 | December 18, 2017 Issue - Vol. 95 Issue 49 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 95 Issue 49 | pp. 48-50
Issue Date: December 18, 2017

ACS local sections share highlights from National Chemistry Week 2017

Chemists and chemistry enthusiasts demonstrate to the public the many ways that ‘Chemistry Rocks!’
Department: ACS News
Keywords: ACS News, National Chemistry Week
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Indiana University undergrads pour liquid nitrogen into coolers of boiling water during Science Fest.
Credit: Athena Tran
Students pour liquid nitrogen into boiling water.
 
Indiana University undergrads pour liquid nitrogen into coolers of boiling water during Science Fest.
Credit: Athena Tran
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Dressed in costume, chemistry faculty put on a "Halloween in the Science Lab" NCW event at Spring Arbor University.
Credit: Tim Wegner
Faculty in costume perform outreach activities.
 
Dressed in costume, chemistry faculty put on a "Halloween in the Science Lab" NCW event at Spring Arbor University.
Credit: Tim Wegner

Since 1987, National Chemistry Week(NCW)—the American Chemical Society’s largest annual chemistry outreach program—has captured the curiosity and imagination of the public.

This year’s 30th anniversary celebration took place Oct. 22–28 and focused on the theme of “Chemistry Rocks!” which celebrates the chemistry of rocks and minerals. Across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, volunteers from ACS’s 185 local sections and other chemistry enthusiasts took to shopping malls, libraries, museums, and other public venues to communicate the value of chemistry in everyday life.

“The success of this program is due to the countless hours that our ACS volunteers put into community outreach activities during NCW and their enthusiasm for creating a bit of wonder in the children experimenting with chemistry,” says ACS President Allison Campbell. “My favorite part of NCW is watching parents sidle up to their children and engage in the experiments themselves.”

NCW was started in 1987 as National Chemistry Day by George Pimentel, who was ACS past-president at the time. The annual outreach program became so popular that in 1993, National Chemistry Day was renamed National Chemistry Week.

“The goal of NCW is to encourage ACS members and nonmembers alike to be able to go out into the community and promote chemistry through outreach,” says Michael McGinnis, chair of the ACS Committee on Community Activities, which organizes NCW with the help of the ACS Office of Volunteer Support. “The more people that this program reaches, the more popular the program becomes.”

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In the Salt Lake Section, a boy investigates a rock at the Salt Lake City Public Library.
Credit: Robyn Hyde
A boy wearing safety goggles investigates a rock.
 
In the Salt Lake Section, a boy investigates a rock at the Salt Lake City Public Library.
Credit: Robyn Hyde

The following are highlights from this year’s celebration, collected through reports from ACS local sections. On social media, NCW participants shared photos under the hashtags #NCW30Years, #ChemistryRocks, and #NCW2017. Some of those photos are featured here as well.

The East Tennessee Section held a number of activities throughout the week. Local section members and friends enjoyed an ACS-sponsored science café on the chemistry of beer at a local brewery. Members and friends also toured the Tennessee Marble Company’s quarry and processing facility in nearby Friendsville. Al Hazari of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, gave three presentations at the inaugural Tennessee STEAM Festival celebrating science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Hazari also hosted two chemistry magic shows at Rocky Hill Elementary School in Knoxville, as well as the 27th annual Magic of Chemistry show at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Volunteers from the Idaho Local Section and the Idaho State University student chapter visited classrooms and hosted two chemistry magic shows.

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In the Sacramento Local Section, students from Sacramento City College throw pies at their chemistry professors during a fundraiser event.
Credit: Sofya Tagvoryan
Students throw pies at their professors.
 
In the Sacramento Local Section, students from Sacramento City College throw pies at their chemistry professors during a fundraiser event.
Credit: Sofya Tagvoryan

More than 60 volunteers from the Kalamazoo Section performed 25 hands-on activities and demonstrations for more than 1,000 attendees at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum in Michigan. Chemists from the Kalamazoo Geological & Mineral Society participated in the event, presenting displays of their work and talking to visitors about the intersection of chemistry and geology.

The Northeastern Section held NCW events at the Boston Museum of Science, the Boston Children’s Museum, and the Cape Cod & Islands Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The events drew more than 3,500 students. Activities included lessons on what makes up the ocean floor, simulated archaeological digs, an augmented reality sandbox, and an exploration of lava.

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Students from the Chemistry Club at St. Elizabeth School in Wilmington, Del., show off the tie-dye T-shirts they made during NCW.
Credit: Kammas Kersch
A group of students wearing tie-dyed T-shirts.
 
Students from the Chemistry Club at St. Elizabeth School in Wilmington, Del., show off the tie-dye T-shirts they made during NCW.
Credit: Kammas Kersch

More than 1,200 people were treated to hands-on activities at the New York Hall of Science, in Queens, as part of the New York Local Section’s NCW celebration. More than 300 volunteers were on hand to perform demonstrations and activities, with titles such as “Radioactive Rocks,” “Rock Painting,” and “Making Magic Sand.” The local section’s NCW program won the 2017 Partners for Progress & Prosperity Award for the mid-Atlantic region.

In the Northern New York Local Section, Dana Barry of Clarkson University presented a hands-on workshop about rocks and minerals to fifth and sixth grade students at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Canton. Students used magnifiers, magnets, and other tools to analyze and characterize a variety of rocks and minerals. The students also prepared three-dimensional models of the mineral halite, also known as rock salt or NaCl, using toothpicks and candy.

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Students from Georgia College presented a colorful twist on the elephant toothpaste activity during Family Fun Night.
Credit: Alexis Crawford
Students perform the elephant toothpaste activity.
 
Students from Georgia College presented a colorful twist on the elephant toothpaste activity during Family Fun Night.
Credit: Alexis Crawford

The Orange County Section hosted a day of chemistry activities at the Santa Ana Zoo in California, led by volunteers from 12 colleges and university groups. The local section paid for admission to the zoo for residents of Santa Ana and nearby Tustin.

In the Permian Basin Section, the Sul Ross State University chemistry club in Texas took first place for its float, Snow White and the Seven Scientists, in the Homecoming parade. Other NCW activities were hosted by the Midland College and Angelo State University chemistry clubs.

The Princeton Section held its NCW Activities Night at Frick Chemistry Laboratory at Princeton University in New Jersey. More than 500 guests participated in hands-on activities, such as making and dissolving limestone, growing aragonite and silicate crystals, and digging for fossilized shark teeth. Participants took home instructions for growing their own salt crystal garden. Princeton University geochemists Eleanor Berryman, Clara Blättler, and Oliver Baars presented talks on chemical sediments, how rocks form, and the chemistry of the ocean.

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In the Puerto Rico Section, students from Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, Ponce, use a mock crime scene to teach participants about forensic chemistry.
Credit: Jodi Wesemann
A group of students stand near a mock crime scene.
 
In the Puerto Rico Section, students from Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, Ponce, use a mock crime scene to teach participants about forensic chemistry.
Credit: Jodi Wesemann

Despite the devastation in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria, over 500 volunteers from the Puerto Rico Section turned out on Dec. 10 to celebrate the Festival de Química at the Paseo de la Princesa in Old San Juan. Volunteers from 14 ACS student chapters, 10 high school chemistry clubs, and other organizations presented hands-on demonstrations based on the NCW theme “Chemistry Rocks!” The volunteers were treated to a lunch sponsored by CAS, a division of ACS. Other expenses were covered by ACS past-president Donna Nelson.

In the Puget Sound Section, more than 30 student volunteers from Skagit Valley College in Washington visited 23 classrooms at LaVenture Middle School and performed crystal-growing experiments with nearly 700 sixth- through eighth-grade students. The college students also chatted with the middle schoolers about college life and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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In the Western Michigan Section, Grand Valley State University students put the rock in "Chemistry Rocks!"
Credit: Michelle DeWitt
Three students stand behind a rock painted "Chemistry Rocks."
 
In the Western Michigan Section, Grand Valley State University students put the rock in "Chemistry Rocks!"
Credit: Michelle DeWitt

In the Salt Lake Section,visitors to the Salt Lake City Public Library created sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks, made their own crystals within a geode, built stalagmites, and searched for meteorites. They also learned about the chemical characteristics that impart color, fluorescence, and magnetism in rocks and minerals.

The South Florida Section hosted NCW chemistry demonstration activities at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery & Science, as well as the Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami.

The Western Michigan Local Sectionhosted hands-on activities at the Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids. Geochemists from the local community were among the volunteers doing activities and demonstrations. Other volunteers came from Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Aquinas College, Hope College, Amway, Gentex, Perrigo, Grand Rapids Public Library, and the Association for Women in Science. The section also gave away prizes to children.

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In the Susquehanna Valley Section, students from Bucknell University light up the night with their NCW pumpkins.
Credit: Pat Martino
Students light up pumpkins that spell out "NCW."
 
In the Susquehanna Valley Section, students from Bucknell University light up the night with their NCW pumpkins.
Credit: Pat Martino
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A periodic table of rocks assembled by students at Ohio Northern University.
Credit: Bradley Wile
Rocks assembled into a periodic table.
 
A periodic table of rocks assembled by students at Ohio Northern University.
Credit: Bradley Wile
 

Planning for next year’s NCW celebration, which will take place Oct. 21–27, is already under way. The celebration will focus on the chemistry of outer space with the theme “Chemistry Is out of This World.”


NCW Illustrated Poem Contest winners

The ACS Committee on Community Activities and the ACS Office of Volunteer Support have announced the winners of the 2017 National Chemistry Week Illustrated Poem Contest, in which K–12 students were invited to share their interpretation of this year’s theme, “Chemistry Rocks!,” in the form of illustrated poems. First-place winners in each grade category received $300. Second-place winners received $150.

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K to second grade
First place: Cole Agaraki, Hawaii Local Section.
Credit: Cole Agaraki
An illustrated poem.
 
K to second grade
First place: Cole Agaraki, Hawaii Local Section.
Credit: Cole Agaraki
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K to second grade
Second place: Calliope Brennan, Binghamton Local Section.
Credit: Calliope Brennan
An illustrated poem.
 
K to second grade
Second place: Calliope Brennan, Binghamton Local Section.
Credit: Calliope Brennan
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Third to fifth grades
Second place: Katherine Song, South Florida Local Section.
Credit: Katherine Song
An illustrated poem.
 
Third to fifth grades
Second place: Katherine Song, South Florida Local Section.
Credit: Katherine Song
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Third to fifth grades
First place: Anika Khedekar, Princeton Local Section.
Credit: Anika Khedekar
An illustrated poem.
 
Third to fifth grades
First place: Anika Khedekar, Princeton Local Section.
Credit: Anika Khedekar
 
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Sixth to eigth grades
First place: Camilla Nguyen, Hawaii Local Section.
Credit: Camilla Nguyen
An illustrated poem
 
Sixth to eigth grades
First place: Camilla Nguyen, Hawaii Local Section.
Credit: Camilla Nguyen
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Sixth to eigth grades
Second place: Carolina Ikuno, North Jersey Local Section.
Credit: Carolina Ikuno
An illustrated poem.
 
Sixth to eigth grades
Second place: Carolina Ikuno, North Jersey Local Section.
Credit: Carolina Ikuno
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Ninth to 12th grades
First place: Brianna Chan, Hawaii Local Section.
Credit: Brianna Chan
An illustrated poem.
 
Ninth to 12th grades
First place: Brianna Chan, Hawaii Local Section.
Credit: Brianna Chan
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Ninth to 12th grades
Second place: Megan Soto, Orange County Local Section.
Credit: Megan Soto
An illustrated poem
 
Ninth to 12th grades
Second place: Megan Soto, Orange County Local Section.
Credit: Megan Soto
 
 
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