Chemistry and Biochemistry

Y-Chem a Hit at Annual Department Picnic

Posted: Sep 26, 2012

The usual mix of new and old faces appeared at the annual department picnic in Rock Canyon’s Park Area on Septempter 4, 2012, to socialize, eat and play. This year’s after-dinner activities may have been the best yet- a chemical magic show put on by two members of the Y-Chem Society that mesmerized the younger faces in the audience.

Not only did Y-Chem’s Mark Murdock and Will Rankin perform exciting chemical demonstrations such as “gunpowder” cotton and exploding balloons, they made the show into a game by quizzing two teams of graduate students on the scientific principles behind the demonstrations. The self-named teams Large and Small (Landon Weist and Sambhav Kumbhani) and “Grad” to Be Here (Sam Matthews and Chad Jones) received one point for every correct answer. Each team only missed one question of at least eight, with Team “Grad” to Be Here winning the tiebreaker.

Graduate student Jared Hancock facilitated “halftime” and “post-game” challenges, including who could fit the most marshmallows in their mouth, who could blow the first bubble from a piece of gum, and a timed obstacle course. Angela Calchera, another graduate student, showed several children how to make clear goo after the chemistry quiz game. Children also enjoyed climbing the trees and playing Twister on a giant board.

The evening began with a name game, where every person received the name of a famous scientist or member of the department on their back. While they mingled before dinner, each had to guess the name on their back by asking others “yes” or “no” questions about the scientist. Dr. Adam Woolley, associate chair for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, welcomed the attending group of about 100 students, faculty, staff, and their families. The department provided a choice of sloppy joe beef or barbeque chicken for the main course, which was supplemented by salads, side dishes and desserts brought by attendees to share.

By Jessica Henrie