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NIU Chemistry invites the public to have a blast

March 23, 2011

A photo of chemistry beakersThe Northern Illinois University Chemistry Club invites the public to Chem Blast 2011 at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, in Faraday Hall 143.

Every spring semester, the NIU Chem Club hosts an evening of crowd-pleasing chemical demonstrations.

Demonstrations in the past have involved small explosions and blowing things up. “And, this year’s Chem Blast won’t be any different,” says Chem Club President Harrison Kuras. “The demos that we have chosen are going to be a blast … literally!”

One thing, however, will be different this spring. For many years, David Ballantine has helped lead the Chem Club demos as the club’s faculty adviser.

After the passing of the torch last year, chemistry professors James Horn, Victor Ryzhov and Lee Sunderlin have stepped in to help plan and organize Chem Blast 2011. “We hope to put on a great show,” Ryzhov says. “We are excited for the students, and we invite everyone to come out and enjoy the demos they have put together for the event.”

Featured experiments will include a dichromate volcano, underwater sparks, a genie in a bottle, and a simulation of dragon’s breath. And, as usual, the evening will conclude with the tastiest of crowd pleasing demos – the making of liquid nitrogen ice cream.

Some of the experiments planned for the evening may involve loud noises and produce some smoke and/or unpleasant smells and might not be appropriate for small children. For some experiments, members of the audience might be asked to move away from the demonstration area, again for safety precautions.

Parking will be available in the NIU Parking Deck along the west side of Normal Road, about one block north of Lincoln Highway (Route 38). The parking deck is open for general parking after 7 p.m., except for reserved and handicapped spaces.