Science students put on a spooky show


KATIE BAUGHMAN, Campus Life Editor

Spooks, skeletons, and science will convene in McCollum Science Hall this Friday. The UNI American Chemical Society’s Halloween House will feature electricity demonstrations, build-your-own skeletons and liquid nitrogren ice cream.

UNI Physics Cub, Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society and  Gamma Sigma Chapter of Gamma Sigma Epsilon Earth Science Honor Society are collaborating with ACS to create the Halloween House. Scenes such as Frankenstein’s Lab, the Skeleton Graveyard and the Devil’s Den will all be featured in the house.

The Halloween House is being held to celebrate National Chemistry Week. The event will be held from 4-7:30 p.m. on the second floor of McCollum  and comes at no charge.

Students from four different organizations and a dozen faculty members from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have mapped out and planned each room of the Halloween House, complete with science related demonstrations. Six different shows will be done in each room over the course of the entire event.

“It’s a great way to collaborate with other science student groups on campus,” said Cassara Higgins, ACS co-president and senior chemistry and physics major.

The Halloween House is one of the largest events the UNI American Chemical Society puts on each year. They not only organize the special rooms, but they also take all precautions and safety into consideration.

Dr. Colin Weeks, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, explained some of the features of the house.

“Frankenstein’s Lab will contain fascinating demonstrations of electricity and other physics phenomena […and] the Skeleton Graveyard will give students a chance to study a skeleton and then build one of their own,” Weeks said.

Another feature will be the attraction Mummies Yummies, which is a demonstration using liquid nitrogen and ice cream. Guests will have the chance to sample the ice cream.

The features and what can be found inside an underground cave are highlighted in the Underground Mysteries room, which will be similar to that of an exploration experience.

The Pirates’ Cove will follow a pirate theme incorporating a chemical demonstration. 

“This is my first year leading a room, so I am really excited,” said Elena Lushine, ACS secretary and junior biochemistry major.

In addition to these demonstrations, there will be three larger chemical demonstration shows entitled, “Witches’ Lair,” “Pirates’ Cove” and the “Devil’s Den.” Each of these shows has a set show time occurring every ten minutes. The other attractions are open for people to freely come and go as they please.

Robin Livermore, ACS co-president and senior chemistry teaching major, talks about her excitement for the event.

“We’ve been planning this great event all semester and are so excited to meet community members and show everyone how fun science can be,” Livermore said.

Wyatt Andersen, ACS social chair and junior biochemistry major, shares his optimistic feelings as well.

“I’m excited to be a part of Halloween House for the first time this year,” Andersen said. “It’s a great way to get to know the professors in the department, as well as new student faces.”

Additionally, the club gives students the opportunity to develop professional skills, to interact with faculty and students within the field and present research at the National Meeting of the American Chemical society. This will be the fifth year ACS has put on the Halloween House.

“Halloween House allows UNI students interested in science a chance to share their excitement about it with the public,” said Weeks. “It is also an opportunity for them to gain experience in explaining scientific phenomena to others, which is great professional preparation for the students who are going to be school science teachers.”

Weeks also explained the precautions the club takes while organizing special effects. The faculty from the Chemistry and Biochemistry department hold safety training to address the crowds of visitors that will be present at the Halloween House on how to go about performing safe chemical demonstrations.

The event, demonstrations and activities are geared for elementary school aged children to understand. However, the event is open to the public, and UNI students are encouraged to attend.