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National Chemistry Week Celebration is a Don’t-miss Event

by Cassie Schacht

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 22, 2013) — Families and children in Lexington and surrounding areas have an opportunity to learn about chemistry in a fun and exciting environment this week. The University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry opens its doors and welcomes a faithful crowd of "chem-enthusiasts" for an evening of colorful and educational chemistry at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, in Room 139 of the UK Chemistry-Physics Building, 505 Rose Street, Lexington.

Chemistry department students, staff and faculty will host an interactive and exciting demonstration show titled "Energy Now and Forever!" 

"We perform demonstrations that reflect many of the core topics being taught in chemistry classes, with many of our demonstrations requiring participants from the audience," said organizer Erin Wachter. "Those attending can expect to experience fire, colors, small explosions, and tasty treats for Halloween."

Participants will engage in or observe more than a dozen different demonstrations presented by chemistry graduate students including interactive slideshows on safety. Each demonstration is five-10 minutes long and offers cause and effect examples of chemistry that are exciting, visual and relevant to our lives. With this year's event titled "Energy Now and Forever!" energy will be the theme for many of the demonstrations, featuring, for example, explosive oxidation of gummy bears, a light-producing reaction, explosive material called gun cotton, and many exciting others.

The event's highlight demonstration occurs at the end of the night and features a "Chernobyl reaction" in which smoke and light-producing reactions occur resulting in a spectacular visual experience. This finale has been fine-tuned over the years to ensure a safe and non-frightening display, while guaranteeing to thrill audiences of all ages.

Funded and organized by the Department of Chemistry each year during National Chemistry Week, the open house and demonstration also celebrates Mole Day, Oct. 23, an unofficial holiday commemorating Avogadro's Number (6.02 x 1023), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry.

This is a "don't-miss" opportunity for children and families. For more information, contact Erin Wachter at