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Cool Chemistry 2011 engages girls' interest in science

A series of hands-on workshops, explosive demonstrations, and even a liquid nitrogen ice cream break are part of Cool Chemistry 2011. Fifty-five girls in 7th grade through 9th grade will participate in Cool Chemistry, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 30.

Cool Chemistry is planned, organized, and sponsored by the Chemistry Chapter of Women in Science & Engineering (WISE). Cool Chemistry was developed in 2005 by a group of graduate students. The program is specifically designed to engage middle school and high school aged girls in science, particularly chemistry, by providing an environment where they can work together to use the scientific process of questioning, hypothesizing, and experimenting to solve relevant problems.

One of this year's new workshops focuses on the use of sunlight to generate power. Other workshops include learning about the chemistry behind beauty products and how to make lotions and lip gloss; discovering the science used by real crime scene investigators, by becoming a detective to investigate a crime scene; learning how to make paint and how to detect an art forgery; other stations include themes from polymer, computational, and green chemistry.

In addition to the Department of Chemistry, Cool Chemistry is partially funded by a number of sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Fisher Scientific, Papa John's, Panera Bread, Co., Sigma-Aldrich, Testfabrics, Inc., GMG Services, and The Women's Center.