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LAU students promote chemistry knowledge through fun experiments

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Visitors watch the process of crushing an empty can after heating.

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Microscopic observation of pine tree particles.

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Amr Al Tamimi combines chemicals to produce plastic.

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The audience watches the process of artificial volcano eruption.

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UNESCO Club members with Dr. Tarek Na'was (3rd from left).

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A number of attendees benefit from the educational activities.

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Live performance by the LAU Music Club.

Click any image to view all seven pictures.

October 31, 2008—

Erupted artificial volcano, colorfully designed shirts, crushed soda cans, long-hanging strings of plastic as well as students wearing white coats drew visitors to LAU’s stand at the “Days of Science” exhibition early this month.

LAU UNESCO Club members coordinated the university’s participation in the three-day event at the Beirut Hippodrome by performing different instructive activities to explain complex scientific concepts.

The event’s aim was to bring science closer to the public. The club chose to provide information on chemistry with the motto “For Every Action, A Reaction.”

People often “think that science is made to torture them. But we are here to show them how fun and exciting learning it can be,” said Abbas Sibai, the club’s president.

The LAU stand targeted various age groups. Children were quizzed about their science knowledge, and, when answering questions correctly, they played bowling and won prizes. Teenagers colored t-shirts by dribbling alcohol to allow ink molecules to spread on the cloths. Adults performed the can-crusher experiment by heating an empty can and plunging it into water.

Through these activities, the participants learned the concepts of solubility, color mixing, molecule movement and impulsion (the sudden collapse of an object towards its center due to air pressure).

Also, the club members presented how a volcano erupts. They used vinegar, baking soda, and dishwashing detergent to show how carbon dioxide is formed and how the gas bubbles push the “lava” out of the volcano. Another demonstration for explosion was performed with Mentos and Coke.

Every night, the LAU Music Club performed songs explaining how music can benefit from technological advancements.

The students have been preparing for the event since July with Beirut Dean of Students Tarek Na’was and Guidance Office Program Coordinator Riman Jurdak.

Transforming the tent into a scientific recreational space was challenging. “Only two students majoring in natural sciences were on board and had experience working in a chemistry lab,” said Moustapha Itani, a club member.

“Thanks to the devoted and hardworking students, the [LAU] stand attracted a huge number of guests. It comprised educational experiments as well as interactive activities like no other stand,” said Jurdak.

Other universities as well as schools, research centers, and hospitals also participated in the exhibition. It was organized with the cooperation of the city of Geneva, the Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon and the Municipality of Beirut.


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