Faraday Lectures at WSU Make Chemistry a Family Holiday Event
OGDEN, Utah — In celebration of the holiday season and science, Weber State University will host the annual Faraday Lectures in the Lind Lecture Hall Rooms 125 and 126 on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited to auditorium capacity of 324.
Chemistry professor Michelle Paustenbaugh, assistant professor Brandon Burnett and instructor Carol Campbell will don clothing from the 1800s and conduct a number of scientific demonstrations. Some of the experiments the trio perform include the use of cryogenics, or very low temperatures, and combustion. WSU President Charles Wight will participate as master of ceremonies.
Faraday Lectures pay homage to Michael Faraday, a renowned English scientist, known for his contributions to electromagnetism and electrochemistry. Faraday hosted Christmas Lectures at The Royal Institution in London from 1825-1861. WSU has continued the holiday tradition to entertain and educate both children and adults.
“The Faraday Lectures is a great opportunity for us to show off how amazing our natural world is,” Burnett said. “When you understand some very simple ideas, you open up the possibilities to see and do wonderful things. We love to use the Faraday Lectures to connect with the community, especially kids, and engage them in chemistry by presenting some neat tricks that nature has to show us.”
Burnett will dress as Michael Faraday. Paustenbaugh and Campbell will dress as science pioneers Marie Curie and Marie Lavoisier, respectively.
“Faraday Lectures is a fun way to explore different areas of chemistry with lots of demonstrations, including several that are new this year,” Campbell said. “We will also be looking to our audience for some volunteers.”
Curie, noted for her radiological work, became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in 1903. She shared that prize, which was in physics, with her husband Pierre Curie and the French physicist Henri Becquerel.
Lavoisier was instrumental in the success of her husband, Antoine Lavoisier, who discovered the Law of Conservation of Mass. After marrying in her early teens, she worked alongside her husband in the laboratory. She also contributed detailed drawings of scientific equipment to her husband’s publications.
“I hope people will gain an appreciation for the understanding of the natural world through chemistry and science,” Paustenbaugh said.
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