Saturday, April 02, 2005

Science Show

The UW held a science exhibition, aimed at younger students. We took our youngest two. The youngest son YS stopped at every booth, and sometimes explained things to the presenter. Our youngest daughter YD was much more picky, but hung around a long time for things like the demonstration of how different bird beaks were used for catching different foods. I made her stick around for the demonstration of spectral lines, but didn't have to ask twice about the chocolate exhibit. They were melting chocolate over oreos--the conveyor belt had lots of holes for excess to drip through, and it bounced to help get all the drips off. She was fascinated by the fetal alcohol syndrome table, with microscopes focussed on chicken embryos. And she stayed for the whole stem cell display. The YS was with my wife, so she'll have to describe his enthusiasms.

Shakashiri's "Science is Fun" chemistry show was put on by a bunch of graduate students, who did a creditable job. Though Mike, the intro guy, might want to tweak his spiel a bit: "Next Saturday we're hosting a "Women in Science" show. There'll also be a hands-on portion of the program ..."

YD was adamant that she didn't want to see Shakashiri, but I made her go anyway, and she was chuckling along with everyone else quickly enough. One reaction was the catalyzed decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, which released oxygen and steam in a plastic bottle (which shrunk). I though it'd have been cool to drop a lit match in the bottle to watch it flare before it hit the water, but they explained later that they'd not ever done that--they didn't like working with oxygen.

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