Demonstration explosions and fires and experiments with weird polymers and super cold materials - these are some of the things visitors can expect to see at the Department of Chemistry's open house at Texas A&M University from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 10).

The 14th annual open house is part of the department's celebration of National Chemistry Week, that began Sunday.

The whole family can enjoy the Chemistry Road Shows at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Room 100 Chemistry Building, which will feature fires, explosions, weird polymers and super cold materials and other things to amaze visitors. Door prizes will be given at both shows.

The first 600 students from preschool through 12th grade can pick up a "goodie bag" containing chemical fun items and science booklets at the welcome table in the foyer Chemistry Building.

Demonstrations include "Hands-on Polymer Activities -- Chromatography, Nail Painting with Sunlight Sensitive Polish, and Turning Pennies into Gold"; "See, Touch and Think" chemistry demonstrations; "Chemistry and Heart Disease" skit; "Test Your Spit - All About Starch and Enzymes"; "Fun with Biochemistry;" and "Molecular Modeling Using SGI Computers."

Tours will be conducted by undergraduate members of the American Chemical Society student affiliate at Texas A&M every half hour beginning at 11 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m. For safety reasons, all children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Topics for the tours include "How Greasy Is Your Nose?," "Interactions of Light With Matter: Surface Tension Race," "Fun With the Periodic Table and How One Element (Iron) Gets From Your Food Into Your Belly," "The RNA World," "Working in an Inert Atmosphere. Manipulation of Sensitive Substances in a Glove Box," and "A Neat Way to Identify Food Ingredients - Use Nuclear Magnetic Resonance."

Many of the events involve hands-on and computer activities. Tours of the Cyclotron on campus and a bus tour of the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG) on Graham Road in College Station also will be offered. All events will be held in the Chemistry Building except the Cyclotron and GERG tours.

Dr. Wendy L. Keeney-Kennicutt is coordinator of National Chemistry Week for the local American Chemical Society chapter. For more information about the open house, go to the web site at http://www.chem.tamu.edu/class/fyp and click on National Chemistry Week.

Contact: Dr. Wendy L. Keeney-Kennicutt, (979) 845-3256 or kennicutt@mail.chem.tamu.edu.

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