Springfield, Ohio – The sixth meeting of the 2009-2010 Wittenberg Saturday Science program is scheduled for 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Feb. 20, in the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center, featuring a presentation titled “The Chemistry of Pigments and Dyes” by Assistant Professor of Chemistry Ray Dudek.
Wittenberg Saturday Science is an outreach program started in January 2008 that exposes area high school and home-schooled students to science and its many possibilities. Eight academic departments – biology, chemistry, computer science, geography, geology, mathematics, physics and psychology – are collaborating on the program, which is scheduled to run once a month during the school year.
Each program features a public presentation by a Wittenberg faculty member on an accessible science topic, likely something outside the typical high school curriculum. After a continental breakfast in the David L. Hobson Atrium, students then take part in a science experience led by current Wittenberg students and their professors.
“We are very happy with how the program started. Last semester brought more than 60 students to Wittenberg from 15 different area schools,” said Adam Parker, assistant professor of mathematics. “Feedback from both parents and students has been positive. We look forward to continuing to reach out to area students and show them the beauty and usefulness of science.”
On Feb. 20, the students and parents will first learn about the chemistry behind pigments and dyes. The talk will go into how humans perceive color and what is required for a molecule to interact with visible light. The lecture portion will end with an overview of different types of dyes and pigments and their properties. Afterwards, students are invited to mix up their own dye and use it to dye t-shirts that will be provided.
“The science behind the brightly colored fabrics and materials we use every day is quite interesting, but not often explored in a conventional chemistry course,” Dudek said. “After learning about this aspect of science, students will probably have a new appreciation of what goes into making the clothes they wear.”
Wittenberg Saturday Science is funded by a grant from Future Jobs, a regional workforce development program. Wittenberg is a partner with Future Jobs, and University President Mark H. Erickson is a member of its board of directors.
The 2009-10 Wittenberg Saturday Science program continues in March at a date to be announced. Presentations were made during the spring 2009 semester by Parker, Dudek, Associate Professor of Psychology Michael Anes and Assistant Professor of Biology Michelle McWhorter. Presentations in the 2009-10 school year have been made by Professor of Geology and Chair of the Department John Ritter, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Steven Bogaerts, Assistant Professor of Geography Andrew Scholl, Assistant Professor of Physics Jeremiah Williams and Associate Professor of Mathematics Bill Higgins.
There is no cost to participate in Wittenberg Saturday Science, and the public is welcome to attend the lecture portion. However, space is limited for the hands-on experience. To register for the event, go to http://www.wittenberg.edu/science-outreach. For more information, e-mails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.