Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-3635

October 13, 2006

Evening of chemistry demonstrations
promises to hit close to home

DeKalb, Ill. — The Northern Illinois University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry invites the public to celebrate National Chemistry Week (October 22-28) with an evening of chemical demonstrations.

The event will be held at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, in Faraday Hall 143. The theme is titled, “Your Home – It’s All Built on Chemistry.”

NIU Chemistry Club members will conduct a dramatic “thermite reaction,” converting rust to molten iron; show how iron will burn more easily than people think; demonstrate how polyurethane, a foam insulation and common building material, is made; and create mirrors by plating silver onto a glass surface.

Other demonstrations will include the popular “genie in a bottle” peroxide reaction. “We try to provide both education and entertainment to show our younger audience that science can be fun,” Chemistry Professor David Ballantine said.

The evening will conclude with the making of ice cream using liquid nitrogen.

Some experiments may involve loud noises and produce smoke or unpleasant smells and may not be appropriate for small children. For safety reasons, flash photography is not permitted. And for some experiments, audience members may be asked to leave their seats and move away from the demonstration area.

Visitors to the NIU campus can park in the university parking structure, located just across Normal Road from Faraday Hall West. The structure is open to general parking after 7 p.m., except for reserved and handicapped spaces.