Fires! Explosions! Weird and amazing experiments!

These are some of the exciting features visitors can expect to see from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 4) at the Department of Chemistry's open house at Texas A&M University. The activities kick off National Chemistry Week, which will be observed from Sunday to Saturday (Nov. 5-11).

The Chemistry Road Show at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Room 100 Chemistry Building will feature fires, explosions, weird polymers, super cold materials and other things to amaze visitors. Door prizes will be given at both shows.

The first 500 students from preschool through 12th grade can pick up a "goodie bag" containing chemical fun items and booklets of ideas for "kitchen chemistry," the theme for this year's open house. The bags will be available in the foyer outside Room 100.

Demonstrations available on a walk-in basis from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. include "Hands-on Polymer Activities, Chromatography and Nail Painting with Sunlight Sensitive Polish," "See, Touch and Think" chemistry demonstrations, "Cardiovascular Chemistry," "Test Your Spit - All About Starch and Enzymes" 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 2:15 p.m. Tour groups of about 10 people will begin outside Room 100. 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," "Psychedelic Equilibria," 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 "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. Dr. Marcetta Darensbourg is president of the Texas A&M ACS chapter and Rachel McConnell is president of the student affiliate chapter of ACS.

Contact: Dr. Wendy L. Keeney-Kennicutt, (979) 845-3256 or kennicutt@mail.chem.tamu.edu; Dr. Marcetta Darensbourg, (979) 845-5417 or ; or Rachel McConnell, (979) 693-7879.

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