I need your help at the day job to show off chemistry to the masses.
Since joining our state museum in January, I’ve been a bit disappointed in general at how the world of chemistry is underpromoted across natural science museums. Even with all the hubbub over the Mars Curiosity rover and research lab, few folks know that the rover hosts a remarkable diversity of analytical chemistry instrumentation.
Saturday, October 13th is Chemistry Day at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, just before National Chemistry Week. My colleagues tell me that it is one of the smaller of our “Days” and “Fests.” Well, I want to change that and, yes, I’m using this blog as a bully pulpit to do so. (I hope that’s okay, my benevolent overlords.)
Back when I was at North Carolina Central University, I ran a little exhibit at the Museum in 2009 to celebrate the 140th anniversary of Dmitry Mendeleev’s Periodic Table of Elements. It was just a little demo of the red cabbage juice pH indicator schtick and a slide show on elements used as therapeutics (i.e. arsenic trioxide for leukemia, cisplatin for testicular cancer, lithium carbonate for bipolar disorder).
But I know that you – Dear Reader and Ambassador of All Things Chemistry – are far more creative than I, a mere pharmacologist who plays well with chemists.
Hence, this stands as an open call for any and all of you in academia, industry to offer your chemistry demonstrative skills for a celebration of the discipline at the largest natural sciences museum in the southeastern United States.
And the beauty is that there is no charge for you to have an exhibit.
And why just limit this offer to folks in North Carolina’s Research Triangle or schools and companies across the state? We’re a surprisingly central location for a drive from a large number of ACS-accredited programs. Take a gander:
2.5 hrs from Richmond, VA
3.5 hrs from Rock Hill, SC, and Charlottesville or Norfolk, VA
4 hrs from Columbia, SC or Blacksburg, VA
4.5 hrs from Washington, DC (C&EN *cough*), Johnson City, TN, and Greenville or Charleston, SC
5 hrs from Clemson, SC
5.5 hrs from Baltimore or Princess Anne, MD
6 hrs from Knoxville, TN
7 hrs from Atlanta, GA, and Morgantown, WV
And industrial folks, chemistry non-profits – heck, anyone with knowledge and passion for sharing chemistry with the public. Your demos or information don’t necessarily have to relate to the natural sciences but it would help.
The venue is great and has generated a great deal of public traffic, owing in large part to the April launch of our new Nature Research Center wing. We’ve had a total of 911,000 visitors over the last 12 months. Special events like Chemistry have ranged from 6,600 visitors for our Biotechnology Day to 30,000-plus for BugFest (coming up on September 15). General admission to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences is free everyday so we tend to attract good-sized crowds, especially on the weekends.
If you’re interested in joining us on October 13th in Raleigh, drop a comment below (I’ll have access to the email address you list via the backend of this blogging software). Or just go ahead and drop me an email at the work address: david DOT kroll at naturalsciences DOT org. My intern and I will then set you up with our Chemistry Day planning team.
I know that you’re proud of what you do. Please consider showing your stuff for Raleigh’s Chemistry Day!
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