Hands-on Chemistry

The San Diego Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Scripps College students, and faculty facilitated a hands-on demonstration table at Chem Expo 2011. The annual community event presented an attractive opportunity for students to deploy themselves as budding young chemists and role models for middle and high school students and members of the larger Southern California scientific community. The Scripps contingent was led by visiting assistant professor of chemistry Kayla Kaiser from W.M. Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College, and Scripps College.

Chem Expo is a free event that takes place annually in recognition of ACS National Chemistry Week. This year’s theme is “Chemistry—Our Health, Our Future!” The expo brought together chemists from academia, companies, and organizations. They engaged with approximately 1,500 students to improve public awareness about the importance of chemistry and science in everyday life and the roles that chemists play.

At the The W.M. Keck Science Department booth, visitors interacted with a large structure of a protein used in metabolism. Then they manipulated a magnetized model of aspirin to demonstrate the attractive forces that govern the interaction between medicine and proteins in humans.

2011 is the “International Year of Chemistry,” (IYC) which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize awarded to Madame Marie Curie and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies, highlighting the benefits of international scientific collaboration. The IYC 2011 is an initiative of IUPAC, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

The full event ran on Saturday, October 22, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., at the Casa del Prado in San Diego.