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Go Behind the Scenes With Chemistry at Chemfest 2010


Celebrate National chemistry week with Carnegie Science Center

PITTSBURGH — Nearly 1,500 local students and other visitors will go behind the scenes with chemistry at ChemFest at Carnegie Science Center on Friday, Oct. 22, and Saturday, Oct. 23.

Special effects in movies have risen to an entirely new level during the past several years. Thanks to computers and other technologies, cinematographers are able to literally recreate an ancient battle, bring the world of wizards alive, capture the supernatural talents of vampires and genetically altered humans, and even destroy Earth.

ChemFest attendees will be able to explore a display on movie snow, learn about film processing, discover what happens to make explosions happen on screen, delve into the chemistry of fake blood, and witness demonstrations on special effects like making a person invisible. More than 25 local chemistry organizations will provide tables, demonstrations, and hands-on activities during this two-day event on the chemistry that can be found in this multi-billion-dollar industry.

These organizations, like Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s American Chemical Society (ACS) campus chapter, and PPG Industries, Inc. also will discuss the wide array of career opportunities available in chemistry.

On Friday until 2 pm, students will have the opportunity to visit the Drake Oil Well Museum, a mobile museum that allows visitors to go behind the scenes of the oil industry. The Drake Oil Well Museum will be onsite for the general public on Saturday until 7 pm as well.

“Chemists serve in a variety of positions with widely ranging job descriptions, including careers in the exciting world of cinema,” says Linda Ortenzo, director of the Regional SciTech Initiative at Carnegie Science Center. “One of the missions of ChemFest is to help young people understand that a future in chemistry is possible in a variety of different fields. We also want them to understand how chemistry forms the foundation of the tools, technology, and even the entertainment we enjoy every day.”

Nearly 1,500 students from underserved schools will participate in ChemFest 2010 on Friday, thanks to financial funding from three Pittsburgh organizations. Combined funding from the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh, the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh, and PPG Industries Foundation will cover field trip costs for the students to attend the event.

ChemFest 2010 celebrates the 23rd anniversary of National Chemistry Week, whose mission is to help students and visitors understand the essential role chemistry plays in everyday life. Nearly every object a person comes in contact with during the course of a day was touched in some way by a chemist, from the plastic alarm clock that wakes them in the morning to the toothpaste they use before going to bed at night. By the end of this year’s celebration, participants will understand the role chemistry plays in making their favorite actor disappear before their eyes and how movie directors can make it snow anytime during the year.

ChemFest has won 10 national awards in the past 11 years, largely thanks to V. Michael Mautino of Bayer MaterialScience, coordinator of National Chemistry Week for the Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society. Since 1999, ChemFest has served more than 50,000 people, including 11,400 underserved minority students and 700 inner-city community group members. Awards include “Best Event With Underrepresented Minority,” “Outstanding Event for a Specific Audience,” and “Outstanding Event for the Public Using a Yearly Theme,” among others. In 2009, ChemFest was recognized for “Outstanding Community Involvement.” Mautino recently was named an ACS Fellow for his many efforts relating to ChemFest and National Chemistry Week.

About Carnegie Science Center
Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center’s goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh’s premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes, and off-site education programs.

About Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1895, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums dedicated to exploration through art and science: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. In 2009, the museums reached more than 1.2 million people through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.


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