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Boston College Shows Chemistry Magic at AAAS Family Science Days

Family Science Days, a free event open to the general public, is a yearly production of the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
During this year’s event, Boston College chemists put on a stage show called “Chemistry Magic” that left no seat empty in the Hynes Convention Center Exhibition Hall. In the form of skits, faculty members and graduate students demonstrated polymer synthesis, visible effects of chemical reactions (release of gas and change of color), and chemical kinetics. In one of the skits, under the demands of a customer, a bartender successively changed water into “wine”, “milk” and “beer” by pouring the liquid from one glass to another. In another skit, a genie showed off his grandfather’s “clock in a flask” (iodine clock reactions).
At their exhibit booth, the enthusiastic children were provided with hands-on experiences by the following research groups:
  • Byers group: touching polymer materials (bouncing balls!) and learning their properties.
  • Tsung group: making magnetic nanoparticles and moving them around with magnets.
  • Wang group: using lamps to power toys with solar panels and playing with a hydrogen-powered toy car.
  • Weerapana group: seeing wild type and mutant C. elegans (or “worms” to the kids) under the microscope.

See photos of all four exhibits at Family Science Days

According to AAAS, 3,647 people registered for this year’s Family Science Days (not including conference attendees or media that may have stopped by).

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