October 28, 2003

Cornell Sponsors Chemistry Fair

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Over 90 Cornellians from eight chemistry-related groups on campus gathered at the Pyramid Mall on Saturday to demonstrate exciting chemistry experiments for local school children.

The Chemistry Fair has been held in Ithaca for over 15 years. It was one of many events that took place nationwide last week to celebrate National Chemistry Week, a program funded by the American Chemical Society.

“We want to show kids that chemistry has an impact on everyday life — it’s in the clothes they wear and in the atmosphere,” said Joy Swanson, an ACS member who organized the Cornell event. “We want to get kids excited about chemistry and encourage them to pursue chemistry in high school and college.”

Presentations ranged from “A Cloud in a Bottle” by Alpha Chi Sigma fraternity, to “DNA Extraction” by the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers. The “DNA Extraction” exhibit allowed younger students to take home their DNA extracts in vials to make DNA necklaces. A group from the Department of Textiles and Apparel in the College of Human Ecology demonstrated indigo-dying procedures, used industrially to make blue jeans.

Cody, age 10, said he enjoyed the fair. “I learned some stuff about [chemical reactions], but I knew most of the stuff already,” he announced. “No he didn’t,” his mother refuted.

“It’s great to see the kids’ eyes light up when they see a cool science experiment,” said Eric Magelefsky ’05, a member of Alpha Chi Sigma. “I think it’s important for Cornell students to participate in events such as Chemistry Day to maintain our positive image in the Ithaca community.”

Archived article by Chinyelum Morah