Chemistry show entertains guests on the steps of Wood Science

By Allison Jarboe, Features Editor

During the week of Valentine’s Day, love was in the air, but according to science majors, so were nitrogen and oxygen, among other elements like argon and carbon, comprising our atmosphere.

fortheloveofchemprestonmorris2
Preston Morris, The Bison 

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, a collection of OBU science majors hosted “For the LOVE of Chem,” a science show featuring miniature explosions, a host of colors, bubbles, slime and music.

The event took place on the front lawn of Wood Science Building, and was accompanied by lights and music, as two screens on either side explained the experiments being demonstrated in the middle. Students in white lab coats prepared and demonstrated various experiments for an audience of students, professors, community members and children.

Lauren Quick, senior biology major, was involved in two experiments.

“I did the PVA slime experiment,” Quick said. “I made green slime from polyvinyl alcohol and borax. I also did the balloon popping experiment, where we put vinegar in the bottles and baking soda in the balloons, so whenever they react together it makes air and bubbles, blowing up the balloons so we can pop them.”

Each separate experiment was performed along with accompanying music and a screen giving the title and description of the experiment. Each occurred consecutively and students were prepared with the materials and supplies needed for the event to run smoothly.

Grace Eckstrom, senior biology major, demonstrated an experiment with flaming oxygen and one with a bottle rocket.

“We had to actually make oxygen with a chemical reaction for our bottle experiment, so I had to prepare that in the lab earlier,” Eckstrom said. “We had to make sure we had all the supplies the chemicals we needed, and any materials that needed to be created or put together beforehand.”

Eckstrom is able to participate in interesting experiments all the time.

“It’s what I love,” Eckstrom said. “Both the professors and students have fun together along the way.”

Some experiments were done on a table in the center, while others were more interactive, perhaps sending a bottle or two flying into the center of the crowd. Some emitted smoke or fumes, while others rang with a sound.

Jantzen Faulkner, junior biochemistry major, explained some experiments that he helped demonstrate.

“I did the fire extinguisher candles, the swoosh bottles, and the dry ice bubbles,” Faulkner said. “This fire extinguisher experiment demonstrated the carbon dioxide, from the mixing of the baking soda and the vinegar, taking the oxygen atmosphere away from the lit candle and therefore extinguishing it.”

Faulkner explained that for the “swoosh bottle” experiment, methanol was poured into a gallon bottle. Once air gets back in and the flame is lit, the fumes leaving the bottle give off a “swoosh” sound inside as the oxygen is lighting the flame.

“The dry ice bubbles demonstrated the reactivity of carbon dry ice in the water and the soap,” Faulkner said. “There was also a little bit of methanol in there for the dry ice smoke effect.”

Faulkner said that he would like to become a doctor one day, and loves participating in events like this one because they demonstrate different aspects of science to children and those who are interested.

“Doing this kind of thing really helps us interact with children and show them the different types of sciences that exist, different aspects of what we do, and it encourages them to go into the field of science.”

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