Science & Tech

30th Anniversary Chemistry Open House Set for Oct. 21

October 9, 2017

Dr. Jim Pennington leads a Chemistry Road Show in his trademark tie-dyed lab coat.
Dr. Jim Pennington leads a Chemistry Road Show in his trademark tie-dyed lab coat.
By Shana K. Hutchins, Texas A&M University College of Science

In the spirit of all things scientific, occasionally explosive and all-around inspirational, the Texas A&M University Department of Chemistryis gearing up to host the 30th anniversary edition of one of the most popular educational attractions to be found on the Texas A&M campus.

Texas A&M Chemistry invites science enthusiasts from across the Brazos Valley and the state of Texas to join in celebrating three decades of one of Texas A&M’s proudest fall traditions, the Chemistry Open House and Science Exploration Gallery, set for Saturday, October 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the main Chemistry Building complex.

The open house is held annually in conjunction with National Chemistry Week, celebrated this year from Oct. 22 to 28 with the theme, Chemistry Rocks.

Visitors are encouraged to start their open house tours by checking in at the “Welcome” tent located at the intersection of Ross and Spence Streets adjacent to the Chemistry Complex to receive a free bag of scientific goodies. A secondary table will be situated in the plaza outside of the Chemistry Building at the intersection of Ross and Ireland Streets just north of the three red-brick water fountains. Free parking is available in Lot 51 north of the Zachry Engineering Center, with additional paid parking to be found in the Northside Garage.

“The activities and demonstrations are for the entire community,” said Dr. Stephanie A. McCartney, First Year Chemistry Program lecturer and event organizer. “It’s a completely free event, and it’s part of the National Chemistry Week from the American Chemical Society. The undergraduates and graduate students that help out with our activities and demonstrations give very nice, basic scientific explanations of natural phenomena that occur in everyday life. The community loves this event, and it gets bigger and bigger each year.”

The day-long festival will be highlighted by four presentations of the popular Chemistry Road Show (9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m.) in Room 100 of the main Chemistry Building. The show is recommended for all ages and includes popular science demonstrations, such as fires, explosions, weird polymers and super-cold materials. Please note that the free color-coded tickets for seating, which can be obtained at the welcome tent in the water-fountain plaza, are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and tend to go quickly. 

Hands-on and polymer experimentation, computer activities, guided laboratory tours and demonstrations also will be in progress throughout the day as part of the Science Exploration festivities. In addition to faculty, students and staff from the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Department of Geology and Geophysics and other units from the College of Geosciences will be represented in keeping with this year’s theme. Students from the College of Engineering and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) also will participate.

As part of the celebratory event, the Texas A&M ACS section is sponsoring an illustrated poem contest for area K-12 students. The deadline for entries is Friday, October 6. Click here for additional information on contest rules and the official entry form

Prior to Saturday’s events, Kennesaw State University environmental scientist Dr. Daniel Ferreira will deliver a free public lecture, “Using Geochemistry to Deal With the Fallout in Fukushima,” on Friday (October 20) at 6 pm in Rudder Auditorium. Free tickets for the lecture, presented by the First Year Chemistry Program, are available through the Memorial Student Center Box Office.

The Chemistry Open House and Science Exploration Gallery is sponsored in part by VWR Scientific, Hayden-McNeil Publishing, the Texas A&M College of Science, the Texas A&M University-American Chemical Society Local Chapter and the First Year Chemistry Program.

For more information, visit


Media contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or or Dr. Stephanie A. McCartney, (979) 845-3010 or 

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