Thursday, October 22, 2009
The Pittsburgh chapter of the National Chemical Society will mark the 22nd annual National Chemistry Week with a “Chemfest” at the Carnegie Science Center. 29 local companies, colleges and professional societies will set up tales in the first two floors of the science center Friday and Saturday. Pittsburgh NCS coordinator Mike Mautino says many of the tables will offer hands-on activities aimed at teaching chemistry in fun ways. He says the ultimate goal is to encourage more kids to get interested in science and ultimately pursue science related degrees. Mautino says in recent years the number of US students getting those types of degrees has been falling. He says the target audience is middle school students because that is where kids start to set career goals. This year’s event is themed “Chemistry – It’s Elemental” and Mautino says most of the activities will focus on the elements and how they interact. Among the hands on activities will be the classic chemical volcano and slime experiments and less cliché Shrinky-Dinks and bouncy ball demonstrations. Mautino says most of the tables will be set up on the science centers main floor, which is open to the public without charge. Several “underserved” schools in the area were given grants to bring a total of about 1,900 students to the science center Friday to celebrate Chemfest.