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    Chemistry Department to Bring Victorian Tradition to Stockton

    Dec 8, 2010

    Professors from University of the Pacific's Chemistry Department will treat the community to a Victorian-era Christmas tradition - they will blow things up, turns things into orange and black and then explain how they did it.

    Poster for the Faraday LectureThe tradition comes from the Royal Institution of Great Britain's Christmas Lecture. The Royal Institution has offered a science lecture to children in the London community every year since 1825, with the exception of the years during World War II when the series was suspended. The lecture series was founded by Michael Faraday, considered one of the great scientists of modern history.

    At 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21, two Pacific chemistry professors will offer their version of the "Faraday Lecture" in the Alex G. Spanos Center. They will demonstrate the wonders of chemistry, including how to make things spontaneously combust, change color and explode. In keeping with the Victorian-era roots of the lecture, both professors will be dressed as 19th Century scientists.

    "This will be a lot of fun," said Professor Liang Xue, who along with Professor Balint Sztaray will dress up in tuxedos and top hats to show off the power of chemicals. "We hope to wow the crowd with what will appear to be magic, and we hope this will spur many of the children to take an interest in science."

    The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets are available in most Stockton-area public schools. Tickets also are available at University of the Pacific at the Dean's Office of College of the Pacific in the Wendell Phillips Center, Room 110. The audience will be limited to 1,000 people.

    During the lecture, Pacific's Powercat will also pay a "surprise" visit and participate in the experiments.