Northern Illinois University

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News Release

Contact: David Ballantine, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
(815) 753-6857

March 5, 2009

NIU Chemistry demonstrations promise to be a blast

DeKalb, Ill. — The Northern Illinois University Chemistry Club invites the public to “Chem Blast ’09” at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 19, in Faraday Hall 143.

Every semester the NIU Chem Club hosts an evening of crowd-pleasing chemical demonstrations. “Our demonstrations in the past have involved small explosions,” says Professor David Ballantine, faculty adviser of the Chem Club. “So, we’ve decided to take on the new title of Chem Blast for our spring event.”

Featured experiments will include a simulated grain silo explosion and demonstrations showing how to determine the caloric content of junk food, how to turn copper into gold and how to make a “pH rainbow.”

“Every semester we try to out-do the previous semester, in terms of creating exciting demonstrations,” says Harrison Kuras, a junior chemistry education major “Whether it be Thermite and contact explosives or chemical slime and expanding foam, there's a demo here that always turns heads.”

Some of the experiments planned for the evening may involve loud noises and produce some smoke and/or unpleasant smells and might not be appropriate for small children.

To ensure the safety of the audience and the presenters, flash photography will not be permitted. For some experiments, members of the audience may be asked to move away from the demonstration area, again for safety precautions.

Parking will be available in the NIU Parking Deck along the west side of Normal Road, about one block north of Lincoln Highway (Route 38). The Parking Deck is open for general parking after 7 p.m., except for reserved and handicapped spaces.

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