Meet Jonquil Bandy, An “Ask Me” Guy
Aug20

Meet Jonquil Bandy, An “Ask Me” Guy

You see them everywhere. And they seem to know everything. But who are they? I spotted Jonquil Bandy in his unmistakable yellow “Ask Me” uniform at the top of the escalators in the Convention Center. “Ma’am, do you have a badge?” he called out. Jonquil is 19. He applied for the job as an “Ask Me” guy when someone handed him a flyer on the street. After a five-an-a-half-hour training session, he could tell you just about anything you’d want to know about the Convention Center and its surroundings. “Has any question stumped you?” I asked. “No, not yet,” he said. Jonquil graduated from high school two years ago. Since then, the South Philly native has applied for jobs at Wendy’s, CVS, Toys “R” Us, UPS, Modell’s Sporting Goods, BJ’s grocery store, Shop Rite, and ACME Grocery (those are just the ones he can remember). He’s even applied for a maintenance position at Children’s Hospital and for a job as a baggage handler for Southwest Airlines. “It seems like a diploma ain’t enough for a job no more,” he said. Luckily, he got a call back from UPS recently, and he’ll start there in a couple of weeks. When Jonquil smiles, the tall lanky young adult reveals a mouthful of braces. He makes $9.00 an hour at his “Ask Me” job. Between last Friday and this Thursday, he’ll work a total of 42.5 hours, not including overtime. He expects to make almost $300 after taxes are taken out. He’ll use part of his earnings to help his 63-year-old grandmother, who takes care of him and his brother, pay her bills and buy groceries. The rest of his paycheck will go toward clothes for his new job at UPS. If there’s anything left over, he’ll save it for community college, which he plans to attend in the spring. He wants to major in architectural design and math. “Do you like this job?” I asked him of his current post. “I’m learning communication skills,” he said. “It’s not boring at all.” When asked, Jonquil admits that he had never heard of ACS before this job. And he hadn’t heard of Project SEED until I told him about it. Asked whether he would like to attend an ACS meeting one day, he replied, “I wouldn’t mind because I could learn new stuff.” I asked him whether he’d be open to talking about chemistry with a meeting attendee. “Yeah, after work I would,” he said. “But right now I can’t because I have to keep the talking to a minimum. I need to focus on my job.” —— Later that day … I...

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Top 5 For Wednesday
Aug20

Top 5 For Wednesday

A few things we’re excited to see and do today … 1. Protecting the Chesapeake Bay. (8:15–11:35 AM, and 1:40–5 PM, Crowne Plaza City Center, Liberty C, AGRO Division) 2. Nose into a session on Chemical Senses and Health, and hear about a new way to “sniff out” skin cancer. (8:30 AM–12 PM and 1:30–5:20 PM, Convention Center, Room 113C, AGFD Division) 3. Check out the cool books and illustrations used to teach chemistry in the 19th century. (2:15–2:35 PM, Sheraton Philadelphia City Center, Salon 10, CHED Division) 4. Visit the expo, where you can snag some free stuff before they close up shop this afternoon. (Convention Center, Halls A and B, 9 AM–1 PM) 5. Catch cutting-edge research in organic and medicinal chemistry, plus refreshments and local band Boris Garcia (7–9 PM, Convention Ctr Ballrooms A/B. Band starts at 8:30 PM, ORGN/MEDI...

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Revolutionary Chemistry
Aug19

Revolutionary Chemistry

Forget Ben Franklin and his kite. Chemists have their answer to Philadelphia’s gregarious Founding Father in Joseph Priestley, an 18th century clergyman, teacher, philosopher, and scientist. Priestley shared the credit for discovering oxygen with Carl Wilhelm Scheele and Antoine Lavoisier, and he spent his final years in a country house in Pennsylvania. At the ACS Meeting, Joseph Priestley (actually chemistry teacher and reenactor Ronald Blatchley) is showcasing some of his more famous experiments. Fire? Check. Loud ‘pops’ and ‘bangs’? Check. I asked Priestley whether he ascribes to a credo that pops up a lot on C&ENtral Science, “Chemistry is everywhere.” He told me that chemistry is all around us, indeed in the very air we breathe. However, Priestley went on to say, “I studied chemistry to understand the mind and work of God, which is also everywhere.” Spoken like a true Enlightenment-era scholar. He will be performing experiments at the expo again on Wednesday from 9AM to noon (Convention Center Halls A/B, Booth 1557). Joseph Priestley describes “dephlogisticated air”, which is what we today call oxygen. Priestley describes how to make “dephlogisticated air” (oxygen) using household ingredients. The demos go out with a bang, as Priestley combines “dephlogisticated air” (oxygen) and Cavendish’s air (hydrogen) in a soda bottle to make a familiar...

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Happy Birthday To Us
Aug19

Happy Birthday To Us

C&EN turns 85 this year (and we think we’re still looking good) and C&EN Online celebrates its 10th year on the Internet. A small crowd gathered yesterday to share some cake with us, to hear Rudy reminisce about the birth of C&EN Online, and to play a “How well do you know C&EN Online” quiz. (You can take the quiz for yourself by clicking on the “more…” link.) If you get a chance, stop by C&EN’s booth on the exhibition floor to wish us a Happy Birthday and to pick up a free t-shirt. Folks sporting such C&EN fashions at the booth at 3pm today will be entered into a drawing for a Starbucks gift card or a $50 gas card. How Well Do You Know C&EN Online? 1) Name 2 items that have been demystified in What’s That Stuff? 2) What is the name of the section on C&EN Online that evaluates the way science is presented in movies? 3) Name 1 movie that has been either reviewed or recommended on Reel Science. 4) How often does C&EN Online distribute its newsletter? 5) What is the name of C&EN’s blog? 6) When did C&EN first start blogging? a. 2006 b. 2007 c. 2008 7) What is the name of the blog feature that rounds up interesting chemistry items from general news outlets? a. Chemical Musings b. Chemistry Newsbytes c. Stuff We Didn’t Report But Is Still Interesting d. Chemistry News You Can Use 8 ) What types of multimedia can be found on C&EN Online? a. videos b. photo galleries c. audiocasts d. videos & photo galleries e. all of the above 9) What critter is the mascot for Critter Chemistry? 10) How long has C&EN Online been hanging around on the Web? 11) Who is Rachel Pepling? (and what does she do)? Answers, of course, can be found at C&EN...

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Top 5 For Tuesday
Aug19

Top 5 For Tuesday

A few things we’re excited to see and do today … 1. Glean some wisdom from the second half of the Legends of Environmental Chemistry symposium. (9 AM-12:20 PM, and 2-4:30 PM, Doubletree, Ormandy West, ENVR Division) 2. Learn about “chemical safety in the trenches.” (9 AM-12:55 PM, Sheraton Philadelphia City Center, Logans 2, CHAS Division) 3. Flavorful science beckons at the symposium on the chemistry of soy. (9 AM-12:20 PM Crowne Plaza City Center, Senate, AGFD Division) 4. Polymers in flat-panel displays. Better Super Bowl watching through chemistry. (1-4:45 PM Sheraton Philadelphia City Center, Salon 5/6, POLY Division) 5. Learn about the science in sports, space, and more at the Franklin Institute. (222 North 20th...

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Sights and Sounds from the YCC Fun Run
Aug18

Sights and Sounds from the YCC Fun Run

If you cannot play the audio file, download the free Quicktime Player. Albert Swiston stretches before the race. And they’re off! Sixteen and a half minutes later, we see someone approaching … … Kyle Kopidlansky crosses the finish line first with a time of 16 minutes and 36 seconds! I can do it!! Going around the corner. Happily finished, Meka Parker grabs a pretzel.   Jo Ann Canich is already enjoying hers! A group of students celebrate their achievement. The results are in!  And the winners in the mens category are … Koh Kidena (Silver), Kyle Kopidlansky (gold), and Joseph Wirgau (bronze). Congrats! In the female category … Beatrice Blanc (gold) and Baley Fong (silver). Elizabeth Read (bronze) is not pictured. Now we’re ready to learn some...

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