Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Starting a Science Club at University

smaerd - 14-9-2010 at 20:18

I'm a student at a small commuter college in the U.S. I started trying to get some people interested in originally a "Chemistry and Natural Sciences club" but this wasn't to much of a success. We've broadened it to pretty much a Science club, to expand interest and appeal to more fields.

Most clubs lure people in with food and field trips but that's not science(even though they will be there)... I've been considering setting up a little table in the "science wing" of the building. I would like to incorporate Biology, Chemistry, and Physics demonstrations. All of them have to be ridiculously safe, contained, etc.

Do any of you guys and gal's have any suggestions? So far here is what we're working with:

1. Use bottled dilute beta-carboline solutions exposed to UV light to show-case chemilumensense(sorry if this is the wrong term for this). I thought this was neat because next to it would be a sign saying that these compounds are endogenus to the
human body and it glows... ooo neat.

2. Show-case a home-made magnetic stir plate stirring a water solution with green food-dye in it(yea lame right), but it has motion and could catch someones attention?

3. Show the life-cycle of a mushroom from sporeprint(and microscope image)->mycellium->epoxy encased fruit-bodies.

4. Make an "invisible" beaker inside of another beaker by using RF values of borosilicate glass and mineral oil?

Maybe bring a *lap-top in to show a video or something, but it's hard to think of what to display(No audio would be best as hall-ways are busy and classes are in session). Maybe someone here has a good idea? :)

Maybe some kind of simple crystalline structure that catches the eye? CuSO4? hmm..

Mole day would be a good day to celebrate something, but it's hard to think of solid mole-day idea's that won't make me/us into a total ass, so once again any advice is REALLY appreciated :).

Thanks so much!

[Edited on 15-9-2010 by smaerd]

[Edited on 15-9-2010 by smaerd]

psychokinetic - 14-9-2010 at 21:11

Sounds like some pretty good ideas.
Other good ideas include pretty colours :)

(What's a lab top?)

smaerd - 15-9-2010 at 13:04

lap-top sorry, lol.

psychokinetic - 15-9-2010 at 13:33

Oh gotchya. Here I was thinking this was some cool scientific apparatus :P

Ozone - 15-9-2010 at 14:42

chemilumensense = chemiluminescence, which is not what you get with b-carboline. Under UV, in this case, you will get fluoresescence--which would be neater if it involved the actual b-carboline-containing scorpions :).

Make sure you understand the difference between luminescence types:

1. fluorescence, singlet relaxation, ns lifetimes
2. phosphorescence, intersystem cross and relaxation from triplet state, emission wavelength> than fluorescence and lifetimes range from ms to minutes.
3. delayed fluorescence, fluorescent emission within phosphorescent lifetimes, due to re-excitiation of triplet to singlet state via thermal mechanism.
4. Chemiluminescence, output of light resulting from a chemical reaction (not merely an excited MO). Examples include luminol oxidation, TCPO or DNPO (oxalate ester) oxidation (cyalume rxn), luciferin/luciferase (think fireflies). Frequently, the reaction tyields an energetic state which excites a dye in-situ (cyalume) or, infrequently, emits light itself (luminol).

Anyway, cool idea, go for it:cool:!



picture from:

250px-Sorpion_Under_Blacklight_edit.jpg - 10kB

12AX7 - 15-9-2010 at 15:26

Amazingly, at one meeting of Chemistry Club, at my last school, one of the faculty demonstrated nitrogen triiodide, which he had carefully prepared beforehand (in the fume hood). So there is some hope left in the world.


smaerd - 15-9-2010 at 16:31

@psychokinetic - Thanks for the reassurance and the interest :)

@Ozone - that is ridiculously neat! I may not be able to have one of the scorpions handy but a picture could suffice to demonstrate it's occurrence in nature as well as in the human body(which is of course in nature as well).

I also really appreciate the explanation on the different kinds of luminescence. Accuracy is critical especially for someone doing a demonstration.

@12AX7 - sounds like a neat compound, it just doesn't sound hall-way safe :P

I think I've got enough here to get cracking on compiling information/research and making a poster, thanks everyone. Then off to study calculus and trigonometry in hopes of not getting a migraine.:)

DDTea - 15-9-2010 at 20:40

smaerd, if you like the picture of scorpion, you should look into UV and NIR photography. there's a website somewhere with lots of pictures of flowers in the UV range; however, you might come across as an avant-garde photography club instead of a science club.

Ozone - 16-9-2010 at 14:57

Thanks. I really get into UV-photography, and it tends to drive my research. Here's a good-one you can do (gelatin or other polymer gelled in water containing disodium fluorescein).



Gel_fluorescein_01.jpg - 138kB

Elawr - 16-9-2010 at 18:10

Set off a thermite reaction. ...Few spectacles are more impressive than that of AL and iron oxide mixture; as it transforms, in a fountain of sparks and flame, into a blindingly incandescent puddle of molten iron!

Easy and relatively cheap too.


cyanureeves - 17-9-2010 at 17:20

you cant go wrong with simple electroplating.copper acetate.nickel sulfate.silver nitrate solutions converting to the chlorides and such.i am still awed by the whole electron transfer thing.

Sandmeyer - 18-9-2010 at 05:09

Quote: Originally posted by smaerd  
I'm a student at a small commuter college in the U.S. I started trying to get some people interested in originally a "Chemistry and Natural Sciences club" but this wasn't to much of a success.

Probably because you didn't give them ipods.