Science Students Reveal Bonds Between Chemistry and Art
|Chemistry students present their projects
Some one hundred students from two chemistry classes (Chem 206 and 216),
led by Professor Najat Saliba, exhibited on May 24 about 45 projects that
showed chemistry applications in arts and crafts.
"The purpose of this exercise was to put some fun in chemistry and
to show students all the applications available for the chemistry they
learn in class," said Professor Saliba, who had come up with the
idea for her classes. "In general, students shy away from the sciences,
because they don't see the practical applications of science in everyday
life and art."
The projects allowed students to discover a number of things in the various
applications. For instance, one group discovered that varnish contains
a high concentration of lead, a heavy toxic metal, even though varnish
bottles do not indicate that important fact. Another group showed a way
to design a motif and imprint it on any surface, by "attacking brass
with ferric oxide," a method that resulted in a beautifully designed
golden motif on a slab of wood. One of the students in the group explained
that this method is superior to the laser method that is currently in
use and is at least 20 times cheaper. Another group made wrapping paper
from bananas, while others explained how changeable colored pens work,
or how acid rain affects monuments.
"I never imagined that chemical principles govern so many aspects
of our lives," said one student. "It's fascinating to see it
all explained visually."