25th Annual National Chemistry Week

SIUE chem club at Chemistry Week DemonstrationLast week marked the 25th annual celebration of National Chemistry Week. Sponsored by the American Chemical Society, Chemistry Week is dedicated to informing the public about the importance of chemistry in their everyday lives.

“It’s basic literacy,” Edward Navarre stated, “We all need to be literate in our language and our culture including the sciences.”

The week is celebrated in the week containing October 23, which has been declared mole day in honor of Avagadro’s number (6.02 x 10^23) which is used as a standard unit in chemistry for expressing the number of molecules of a particular substance present in a given sample.

This years theme for chemistry week was nanotechnology, or the manipulation of matter on an atomic or molecular scale. A large and continually developing field, nanotechnologies are used in a wide variety of products from medical technologies like stints, to the LED’s in cell phones, and the radar reflective paint on stealth fighters.

chem club metal reflective properties

SIUE Chem club members demonstrating the reflective properties of amorphous metals

On Friday October 26th SIUE’s Chem Club performed demonstrations in the Morris University Center Goshen Lounge showing off the various attributes and benefits of nanotechnologies. Technologies displayed included: ferrofluids and how they react to magnetic fields, the reflective properties of amorphous metals, color properties of light emitting diodes, and everyday uses of shape memory metals.

“Really everything around us is chemistry,” Eric Voss shared, “National Chemistry week is really a chance to get out in the community and show some of the positives.

Mike Shaw also took a group of students to the Saint Louis Science Center where they performed demonstrations as part of a community outreach effort. (for more information see: http://thisweekincas.com/2010/11/08/siue-students-and-faculty-at-st-louis-science-center/)

Also tied in with chemistry week will be Voss’s annual merit badge workshop. For scheduling purposes this activity is scheduled the Saturday after chemistry week. In this workshop Voss and students will teach boy scouts about basic chemistry safety and allow them to participate in a series of labs. This event like all chem week events is fundamentally about community outreach and educating the public about the impact the sciences have on their lives.

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