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April 13, 2001

Getting a bang out of science

They blow it up, freeze it or make it glow all in the name of science. The Society of Chemistry Undergraduate Majors (called SCUM) puts on about six shows a year, showing the audiences (frequently elementary students) that chemistry can be fun ... and noisy. During a demonstration at Roosevelt School in Ames earlier this semester, the chemistry club members offered a flaming watermelon (above), liquids that changed colors or glowed in the dark and lots of loud explosions, causing some in the audience to cover their ears. The kids snacked on marshmallows that had been frozen with liquid nitrogen and got to try their own experiments. And in the midst of all this fun, the chemistry club members manage to sneak in a few chemistry principles for good measure. Photos by Michael Haynes.

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