'Sunday Scientist' to explore Harry Potter-inspired chemistry June 16
Released on 06/04/2013, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
WHEN: Sunday, Jun. 16, 2013
WHERE: University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History, Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine Streets
J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter book series has captured the imaginations of millions of readers of all ages, including many scientists and engineers.
The next Sunday with a Scientist program for kids and families at the University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History is inspired by the "magical" chemistry of Hogwarts. The event will be from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. June 16 at Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine streets on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus.
"Chemistry-Harry Potter Style" will be led by Rebecca Y. Lai, associate professor in the UNL Department of Chemistry, and several graduate students. They will introduce visitors to some of the wizarding wonders that exist in the real world. Topics include the chemistry of gold, food chemistry, plant science, disappearing ink, fireworks and the invisibility effect.
Featured activities and displays:
- Exploring the chemical properties of gold;
- Creating stained glass using gold and silver nanoparticles;
- Making your own "Marauder's Map" with disappearing ink;
- Discovering how optical effects make objects appear invisible;
- Exploring the lotus effect on waterproof fabric made of nanostructured materials;
- Learning about the chemistry of acid pops and flavored jelly beans; and
- Information on the science behind fireworks and sparklers.
While the activities are not directly related to Lai's research, she teaches the undergraduate course "A Muggle's Guide to Harry Potter's Chemistry" (Chemistry 192H). Lai's research focus is on the development of electrochemical biosensors, including sensors for detection of DNA. For more information, go to http://chem.unl.edu/faculty/eachfaculty/lai.shtml.
Sunday with a Scientist is a series of events that highlight the work of State Museum scientists and those from other UNL departments and institutions, while educating children and families on a variety of topics related to science and nature.
Upcoming Sunday with a Scientist topics: July 21 -- Beneficial Backyards; Sept. 22 -- Agate Fossil Beds; Oct. 20 -- Bats; Nov. 17 -- Solar energy; Dec. 15 -- Gene silencing in plants. Note: There will not be an event in August.
The University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History in Morrill Hall is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays. Regular admission is $6 for adults (19 and over), $3 for children (5-18 years, 4 and under are free), and $13 for families (up to two adults and children). UNL staff, faculty and students are admitted free with NU ID. Friends of the Museum are also free. Admission is free for everyone from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays through Aug. 29. There is an additional charge for planetarium shows. Parking is free in front of the museum. For further information, telephone 402-472-3779, or go to http://www.museum.unl.edu or Mueller Planetarium's website, http://www.spacelaser.com.
Writer: Dana Ludvik