Friday, June 8, 2007

Time. A precious commodity

Have you ever noticed how many times bloggers start a post with something like: "sorry for the lack of posts lately. I've been busy." Isn't that annoying? Well, here's another one.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I've been busy.

Seriously, I've been busy. I've been teaching summer school, installing ceramic tile in our shower, preparing for an institutional self-study and preparing for the summer science camp I am hosting next week.

The latter is the most interesting.

Two years ago, I decided to organize and host a summer science camp for Junior high aged kids. With the help of some colleagues, I put together a week of science fun for 7 students. Last year the number jumped to 9. Things went well last year. Word of mouth started. This year we maxed out at 30 with a number on the waiting list.

We start Monday. I look forward to the fun. I have the help of a very competent biology professor to focus on biology and I will focus on the chemistry. A few others will contribute to touch on math, physics and engineering.

This year in the chemistry portion I am going to have them synthesize paint pigments, synthesize aspirin, and do a forensic DNA analysis to solve a crime.

One of the pigments I will have them make is Prussian Blue. It is made from iron (III) chloride and potassium ferrocyanide.

(sorry for the small figure. I don't have time to figure out why it won't get bigger. )
After they make the pigment, we will mix it with some acrylic base and paint with it.

Mixed in with all of the serious stuff there must be some explosions. I have a number of demos planned. These include: hydrogen balloons, methanol cannon (mixed with a little boric acid for a green flame), gummi bears and potassium chlorate, and thermite.

I mentioned thermite a while ago. Well, it's time to go big or go home. I am going to do the largest thermite reaction I have ever done. Fear not, all safety precautions will be duly observed. I will also try to video tape it and upload the video.

It should be a fun week, but I have a lot to prepare.


Ψ*Ψ said...

PLEEEASE upload the video. I never get tired of watching the thermite reaction.

Chemgeek said...

When it is done, I will do so.

Matt Jenks said...

You should save your Christmas tree for the Thermite experiment next year.