We are a dynamic and visionary organization committed to improving people’s lives in our community through the transforming power of chemistry. We strive to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Kalamazoo, Allegan and Van Buren counties.
KACS could not have accomplished much without the efforts of its volunteers. That is why I would like to thank Carolyn Pugh who has served as Secretary over the last two years. I herewith welcome two new Executive Committee officers beginning January 2014, Dr. Brian Eklov (Chair-Elect) and Angela Willson (Secretary). Below please find additional information
Angela Willson may be a new WMU Graduate Teaching Assistant and student pursuing her Masters in Chemistry and PhD in Science Education through the Mallinson Institute for Science Education, but she is not a stranger to Kalamazoo nor the ACS. Angela was born and raised in the Kalamazoo area and attended Portage Northern High School. She then went on to attend Saint Mary's College and received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2012. At Saint Mary's College, Angela acted as co-President of the Saint Mary's Affiliation of the American Chemical Society (SMAACS). She then spent a year in Minneapolis, MN working in food science with Cargill. Most recently she has spent time in the area attending KACS events and volunteering for Chemistry Day at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.
With Photos by Denis Billen (DB) of DB Family Photography DJ and by Roxana Manta-Bielanski (RM)
The connection between chemistry and culture, especially chemistry and dance may not be obvious to everybody. However, there are some interesting aspects to consider when contemplating these combinations. John Bohannon, a biologist and science journalist, has collaborated with AAAS to create the “Dance Your PhD” competition. It is in response to a dreaded situation that scientists encounter whey they try to explain their research to laymen. How does one respond to “So, what’s your PhD about?” For the fourth year running, PhD scientists can compete to win up to $1,000, and they are required to dance. Bohannon has also performed at TEDx Brussels. With the help of the Black Label Movement dance troupe he proposed to replace Powerpoint software with live dancers. Zafra M. Lerman of the Institute for Science Education and Science Communication thinks that the “arts can play a valuable role in reversing [a negative] public perception” and help “improve the public understanding of chemistry” (“CHEMISTRY: AN INSPIRATION FOR THEATRE AND DANCE” Chemical Education International, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2005). A notable example is the play “Oxygen”, written by Carl Djerassi and Nobel laureate Roald Hoffmann. And “Nobel laureate John Planyi has referred to molecular movement as ‘the dance of the molecules’”.
On November 1, over 200 people were curious enough to find out about "dancing chemists" when KACS connected "atoms and molecules to exercise science" in the lobby, while offering showcase dances, line dances and open dances in the auditorium of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts during "Chemistry and Culture: Elements of Dance". Mayor Bobby Hopewell was the "Surprise Celebrity MC".
Many chemists dressed in elegant evening attire and joined local ballroom dancers and the general public. The lobby featured refreshments and several displays as part of an exhibit that explained exercise chemistry:
Participants were able to win prizes. For example, correct crossword puzzles, based on the science in the exhibit, were entered into a drawing for trial gym memberships, T-shirts, Meg-A- Moles, and dance passes, among others.
There was also a computer set up which played a YouTube video of “Chemists Can DANCE! The first ever dancing periodic table of elements” , which was produced by ACS. A demo showed how one can isolate iron from cereal. Last but not least, there was a display as a special tribute to Dr. Alfred Bader, founder of Aldrich Chemicals and an avid art collector and philanthropist. This event was made possible through generous donations by AAAS, WMU, Aldrich Chemistry, Alfred Bader Fine Arts, and WMU-BTR. It was also a collaboration of KACS with the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Southwest Michigan Ballroom Dance and the Kalamazoo Chapter of USA Dance.
This is a public note of thanks to Dr. Sherine Obare of WMU who has responded affirmatively to my several requests in past Newsletters for an Awards co-chair for the 2015 Joint Great Lakes Central Regional Meeting (JGLCRM), which we are co- hosting with the Western Michigan Section in May of 2015 in Grand Rapids. She joins our other Section members on the Organizing Committee - Drs. James Kiddle, Program co-chair, John Miller, Exhibits and Fundraising co-chair, Elke Schoffers, Publicity co-chair.
We are very happy to report a recent successful Chemistry Club outreach on our campus: In an effort to promote chemistry and membership in Kalamazoo College’s Chem Club, a Mole Day Event was held in the Dow Science building on October 23, 2013. Over fifty students participated in the activities, which included mole jokes, donuts, fun mole facts, and mole-related games. This was an opportunity for chemistry and biology majors to socialize and learn more about the Chemistry Club, as well as explore future activities. Thirty students took a guess at how any moles of glucose were in a graduated cylinder full of candy – the winner’s guess was within 2 moles of the correct number! As a bonus, the Chem Club gained 5 members!
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