By Benjamin Benson
KINGS POINT, N.Y., October 23, 2015 – A United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) team of 13 midshipmen and seven faculty members joined 20 schools and organizations giving chemistry presentations to hundreds of visitors to the New York Hall of Science’s annual National Chemistry Week (NCW) event last week.
“It was great to spend some time off campus and apply some of the concepts I have learned in the classroom,” said Plebe Erica Lawlor of Stafford, Ct., who ran the “Art and Creamy Color” demonstration. “Both children and adults were impressed by our experiments and were interested in the scientific meaning. It was great to represent the Academy at this function as well as interact with the other colleges participating in this event.”
Staffing three tables set up right at the event’s entrance, the USMMA Science Club midshipmen were a very visible presence at this year’s event. Plebe Garrett Von Seggern, who came to USMMA from Heidelberg, Germany, and Plebe Joshua McGlone from Panama City, Fl., also welcomed the children and other participants as they entered the hall, ensured they had eye protection and answered questions.
Coordinated by Science Club President Midshipman 2nd Class Jake Andrew, Vice President Midshipman 2nd Class Caleb Navin, and faculty members Dr. Michael Melcer, Capt. Anthony Nigro, USMS, and Dr. Ping Furlan, the Science Club sponsored ten activities around the theme “Chemistry Colors Our World,” including “Hydrogen Lamp, Color by Light Emission,” “How UV Affects Our Skin, Color Can Tell,” “Fortune Telling Fish,” and “Solar Hydrogen Fuel Cell.”
Plebe Ella Sherrill, of Ketchikan Alaska, showed participants how to use chemistry to write and reveal hidden messages in her “Color and Invisible Message” demonstration.
The midshipmen also visited the museum and participated in the other NCW activities. “We got very involved and finished with customized sodas, bracelets with beads that detect UV light, slime, and much more!” said Lawlor. “It was a very useful way to spend my time, and I look forward to future science club events.”
Furlan thanked the midshipmen and faculty sponsors, “we could not have done this without your ‘exothermicity’ - bright, colorful, articulate and fun! Each of you helped spread the marvel of chemistry and the excitement of science among over 1000 museum visitors, especially among our future scientists and engineers!”
NCW is an annual community based program of the American Chemical Society (ACS) that aims to communicate the importance of chemistry to our quality of life.