Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: Michael Spires, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
(815) 753-1133

March 20, 2006

Night of chemistry demonstrations promises to be a gas

DeKalb, Ill. — The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Northern Illinois University invites the public to an evening of chemistry demonstrations beginning at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, in Faraday Hall 143.

All of the demonstrations will involve compounds (such as carbon dioxide, for example) that would normally be in the gaseous state at room temperature and pressure. They may or may not be in that form for the demonstrations.

“I don't want to spoil the surprise,” said Michael Spires, the department's coordinator for recruitment and public relations. “But I understand there's a spectacular demonstration involving a common bottle of soda as rocket fuel.”

The evening will conclude with the ever-popular making of ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Some of the experiments planned for the evening may involve loud noises and produce some smoke or unpleasant smells and may not be appropriate for small children.

To ensure the safety of the audience and the presenters, flash photography is not permitted. At least for some experiments, members of the audience may be asked to leave their seats and move away from the demonstration area, again for safety reasons.

Those planning to attend the demonstration session may wish to park in the university parking structure, located just across Normal Road from Faraday Hall West. The structure is open to general parking at any time after 7 p.m., except for reserved and handicapped spaces.