Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW)
2022 Chemists Celebrate Earth Week Activities: The Buzz About Bugs
This year’s theme was “The Buzz About Bugs”. CINTACS volunteers provided CCEW programs at 4 events:
- April 22 - Cincinnati Museum Center's (CMC) Museum of Natural History and Science's STEM lab (~400 attendees)
- April 23 - Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition's Earth Day Celebration at Summit Park (1000’s of attendees)
- April 23 - Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati's Lick Run Greenway Earth Day Celebration (~100 attendees)
- April 28 - CINTACS Awards Night at NKU (~100 attendees)
Demos shared at the CMC were:
Be a Bee - Susan Hershberger developed a fabulous demonstration about the chemical communication in bees. It consisted of 2 matching games – one with cards that contained typical scent molecules/pictures and one with scent samples to sniff and match. This demo was shared at all venues. Ed von Bargen also provided a demo using honey solution and polarizers revealing the rotation of light with chiral molecules (fructose).
Termites – Snacking on Wood? – Sue Buescher provided a demo on comparing our digestion of starch with enzymes (crackers and betadine) with termites’ digestion of wood with the help of friendly protozoa. She also had a great table full of books on bugs and insects, edibles for the brave to try, and a recording of insect song for atmosphere.
The Beauty of Butterflies – With Glenn Crisler under the weather with COVID, our partner at the CMC (Brian Pollock) stepped right in with an optical film demo on how Blue Morpho butterflies get their blue color (not a pigment, but iridescence created by the microscopic scales in the wings). He used a simple dish of water, clear nail polish, and strips of black construction paper to create thin films with similar optical properties to butterfly wings. Different thicknesses of the nail polish film created different colors that changed with the observed angle. This demo was also shared at Awards night at NKU.
Lightening Bug Flashlights – Ed von Bargen compared the bioluminescence of fireflies (they use use luciferin, luciferase, and ATP to create light), with chemiluminescence using lucigenin, H2O2, fluorescein, and rhodamine B. Light producing reactions are always a hit!
Striders – Walking on Water – Lynn Hogue and Donna Wiedemann demonstrated how striders can walk on water – surface area and surface tension. They used aluminum foil boats on water vs. heavier objects and water containers with screens over them that magically hold the water inside, until you shake or tip them. This demo was shared at all but the Lick Run Greenway venue.
Taking the Sting out of Bites – Gloria Story and Michele Mangels compared how the reaction of histamines due to insect bites can be reduced with antihistamines (Benadryl was invented right here at UC!) using a pH demo with red cabbage juice-soaked Bounty® towels (fake skin), baking soda dropper (“sting”), and vinegar dropper (“antihistamine”). This demo was shared at all but the Lick Run Greenway venue.
And finally, a few edible insects were available for the brave to try.
More info on CCEW 2022 can be found here.