ChemMatters Infographic: Why Bacon Smells So Good

Why bacon smells so goodBacon and eggs. A bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. Bacon crumbles sprinkled over roasted Brussels sprouts. Even a doughnut topped with maple icing and, you may have guessed, bacon. Hungry yet? These are all food items that have one time or another been on my menu. The common thread, of course, is the crispy, tasty addition of bacon. How does bacon go from its initial properties and appearance to the flavorful, delicious cooked product that many of us love to eat? Continue reading ChemMatters Infographic: Why Bacon Smells So Good”

Creating Inspiring Leaders

Since there are many students who see chemistry as something difficult, boring, and of no relevance to their lives, our Central Visual Arts School ChemClub participated in projects to help motivate students to learn and inquire more about chemistry in the real world.

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Festival de Quimica at Central Visual Arts School

Our school celebrated the Festival with different interactive activities and demonstrations to educate others about chemistry. These activities were carried out by our ChemClub students and the American Chemical Society Student Chapter at the University of Puerto Rico−Rio Piedras Campus (ACS UPR−RP). A poster contest was also conducted in our school to promote the Festival. This year’s theme was “Chemistry Colors our World.” The contest was beneficial to high school students because they could obtain another perspective of the field of chemistry, as they used their art abilities to show the chemistry behind color. Members of the ACS UPR−RP Student Chapter collaborated by serving as contest judges. They evaluated the posters, taking into account artistic and creative elements, chemistry and science content, and relevance of each design to the Festival theme.

Some of the presented posters are shown.

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Festival de Quimica at El Paseo la Princesa

Our students also worked at the Festival de Quimica held at El Paseo la Princesa in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in October 2015 and April 2016. The October Festival had the National Chemistry Week theme “Chemistry Colors Our World” and the April Festival had the Chemists Celebrate Earth Day theme “Our Home’s Ecosystem.” It gave participants chances to explore how chemistry and other sciences are present in our lives.

Magic of Chemistry Shows

show_1Our ChemClub members worked hard to identify schools where they should conduct chemistry demonstration sh
ows, using materials from our everyday lives. The ACS UPR−RP Student Chapter helped us organize the shows and the demonstrations. The audiences were diverse, including students from elementary to high school levels. We also collected data about what the audiences thought about chemistry before and after the event, and whether they thought they would share chemistry with others.

These activities gave ChemClub students opportunities to develop their chemistry skills, become better leaders, and motivate other students to be part of the incredible world of chemistry. We thank the ACS ChemClub program for its support.

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Chemistry Contests at Enrico Fermi High School

Two students from the Enrico Fermi High School ChemClub in Enfield, Connecticut, recently stepped up to organize several contests for our Club. They took care of the organizing, and it has worked out great. The best three were:

  • A contest to see who could launch a hydrogen–oxygen disposable pipet bulb rocket the furthest. Directions to make these rockets are online, such as “Micro-Rocket Challenge.”
  • A contest for making the best smoke bomb (small scale of course). You can make your own with directions online.
  • The last one was making rainbows preparing extracts from fruits and vegetables, then adding acids and bases. The photo shows the winning rainbow. The activity was based on the April 2013 article “Plant Pigment Identification: A Classroom and Outreach Activity” by Garber, Odendaal, & Carlson in the Journal of Chemical Education. The activity uses items from the grocery store like red cabbage, radishes, cranberries, concord grape juice, and blackberries.

test tubes with filled with various colored liquids

Stories of Chemistry

(Part 4 of 4 - Photography Contest Entries)

Let us know which of these pictures from the ChemClub Photography Contest are your favorites. The photo with the most likes, comments, etc. will be the ChemClub Choice Award winner!

Stories of Chemistry

For the stories of chemistry category, students were to communicate chemistry in a photojournalistic style using a series of photos with a story about the photo’s relationship to chemistry.

Titration is a common laboratory method of quantitative chemical analysis that is used to determine the unknown concentration of a known reactant. Because volume measurements play a key role in titration, it is also known as volumetric analysis. A reagent, called the titrant or titrator, of a known concentration (a standard solution) and volume is used to react with a solution of the analye or titrnad, whose concentration is not known. Using a calibrated burette or chemistry pipetting syringe to add the titrant, it is possible to determine the exact amount that has been consumed when the endpoint is reached. The endpoint is the point at which the titration is complete, as determined by an indicator. This is ideally the same volume as the equivalence point – the volume of added titrant at which the number of moles of titrant is equal to the number of moles of analyte, or some multiple thereof. In the classic strong acid-strong base titration, the endpoint of a titration is the point at which the pH of the reactant is just about equal to 7, and often when the solution takes on a persisting solid color as in the pink of phenolphthalein indicator.

Colors of Chemistry

(Part 3 of 4 - Photography Contest Entries)

Let us know which of these pictures from the ChemClub Photography Contest are your favorites. The photo with the most likes, comments, etc. will be the ChemClub Choice Award winner!

Colors of Chemistry

The pictures in this category show how chemistry contributes to colors of things in the world around you. Information about each entry is below the photo. When leaving a comment about a certain picture use the title found above the photo.