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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Activities & Organizations

Student organization highlights National Chemistry Week

Various demonstrations, including how to create rain, fog and fire for television, are only a small portion of what UH chemistry students will be presenting this week to educate the community about science and chemistry.

UH chemistry students show off their Cougar and lab coat pride. Tuesday is “Wear Your Lab Coat Day,” one of the many events taking place on campus for National Chemistry Week. | Courtesy of Kim-Ngan Ngo

The student chapter of the American Chemical Society at UH will be hosting the week-long National Chemistry Week event through Friday.

Chemistry and biochemistry junior Justin Khine, serves as ACS student president, and is also a fire-performance artist.

Khine will use his fire-manipulation skills and his knowledge in his “Chemistry of Pyrotechnics” demonstration from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Thursday in Lynn Eusan Park.

“The day will be centered around the chemistry of fire, its uses, safety and design,” Khine said. “I hope to show people some tricks of a trade-secret industry.”

Another activity that Khine is looking forward to is “Wear Your Lab Coat Day,” Tuesday’s campus-wide event.

“While this event will predominately be focused on Fleming Hall and the Old Science Building,” Khine said. “We (ASC) have been trying to reach out to as many students and faculty members from around the campus to join us in showing our pride in being scientists.”

Students and members of the ASC who wish to take part in the event may do so by renting a lab coat from the ASC student chapter.

Other events during chemistry week, like “Chemistry of Film and Movies,” from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Wednesday, is another chance for students to become involved with science.

“This year’s focus of National Chemistry Week is “Behind the Scenes with Chemistry,” which is a theme that tries to explain all the science and chemistry that takes place in the production of film making,” Khine said. “We’re going to go as far as cosmetic effects, theatrical rain, snow and fog, Hollywood style explosions and crime scenes.”

Khine hopes students who attend the event will have a better understanding of how movies and television shows use science and chemistry to make movie magic, he said.

“When I see a mystery crime movie, I just don’t sit idly there and eat up all the dialogue,” Khine said. “The reason shows such as CSI and NCIS got so popular is because they started out showing and explaining all the really neat chemistry involved in investigating a crime-scene.”

Besides trying to grasp the attention of students on the importance of chemistry, ASC Demonstration Coordinator Kim-Ngan Ngo wants the week-long event to reach younger individuals as well.

“My job is to contact elementary and middle schools locally and arrange chemical demonstrations and hands-on activities,” Ngo, a biochemistry junior, said. “Our goal is to stir up the interest in science, particularly chemistry, already existing in these young students.

“We hope to bring a smile, a laugh to the students when they realize how cool and unique these events are, and how practical the many concepts in chemistry are to us,” Ngo said.

Along with stirring up interest, Ngo hopes the events this week will also stir up Cougar spirit and pride.

“It’s a good opportunity for (students) to see what the University has to offer with so many fun events by all the student organizations. We want the students to be proud of the University and stir up Cougar spirit.”

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