Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: David Ballantine, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
(815) 753-6857

October 13, 2008

Have a ball with NIU Chemistry
during National Chemistry Week

DeKalb, Ill. — The Northern Illinois University Chemistry Club invites the public to celebrate National Chemistry Week (October 19-25) with a fun-filled evening of chemistry demonstrations.

The demonstrations will begin at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, in Faraday Hall 143. This year’s theme of National Chemistry Week is “Having a Ball with Chemistry.”

“We interpret the theme in several ways,” says Professor David Ballantine, faculty adviser of the Chem Club. “First, we have fun with chemistry. Second, many of our demos involve balls. Third, since modern sports equipment is made of special polymeric materials, some of our demos look at the properties of polymers.”

Featured experiments will include a methanol cannon demonstration, using the combustion of methanol to launch a ball. Other demonstrations will showcase burning gel, methane bubbles and a volcanic eruption. The evening will conclude with a real crowd pleaser – the making of ice cream using liquid nitrogen.

Some of the experiments may involve loud noises and produce some smoke and/or unpleasant smells and might not be appropriate for small children. To ensure the safety of the audience and presenters, flash photography will not be permitted. For some experiments, audience members may be asked to move away from the demonstration area for safety precautions.

Parking will be available in the NIU Parking Deck along the west side of Normal Road, about one block north of Lincoln Highway (Route 38). The Parking Deck is open for general parking after 7 p.m., except for reserved and handicapped spaces.

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