Community Engagement

Second Annual Faraday Lecture to Feature Explosions and the Colorful Magic of Science

by Patrick Giblin

Powercat works with professors Balint Sztaray and Liang Xue in freezing roses during the 2010 Faraday lecture at University of the Pacific. The professors - and Powercat - will be holding the lecture again on Dec. 10, 2011, in the Alex G. Spanos Center.

Dec 2, 2011
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The holiday spirit will explode at Pacific on Dec. 10, quite literally.

For the second year in a row, chemistry professors Balint Sztaray and Liang Xue will wear top hats and tails and recreate a Victorian-era Christmas tradition by showing young children the wonders of chemistry during the annual Faraday Lecture. During the lecture, the two professors show children colorful ways to use chopped-up cabbage to test household chemicals. The two also will change the color of fire and make some things blow up or burst in fire.

After each experiment, they will then explain how and why it worked and also let the children know which experiments they can safely do at home and which ones are best left in the hands of chemistry professors.

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

The lecture is a tradition with roots 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.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10 in the Alex G. Spanos Center and lasts until 8PM with a short break for the kids to recharge at the concession stands. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at Pacific's Box Office (Tel: 946-2UOP) next to the Long Theatre on the Stockton campus. The audience will be limited to about a thousand people."

Photos of last year's event can be found on the event page at

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