Rock Star Scientists for a Day

The swirl of colors is mesmerizing and fascinating to the eager young eyes watching intently. The fluorescent reds and oranges, the pastel yellows and blues on labcoats, on hair, on safety glasses, in petri dishes and in flasks become the center of attention as the chemists on stage keep shocking and surprising their young audience. Throughout the course of a single day, hundreds of youngsters sit on the edge of their seats believing what they thought impossible the day before.

 

Three years ago, the scientists from the Celanese Clear Lake Technical Center took on the challenge of captivating the interest of young students from local area schools. Over the course of those years, more than 3,000 students from four different elementary and middle schools have benefitted from an amazing series of demonstrations that serve to make the youngsters want to ask more questions than can be answered. Thanks to the outward community reach of Celanese’s Global Impact Week, that challenge has far exceeded the original expectations of pure entertainment and fascination.

The Celanese Research & Development scientists who come each year to LaPorte Elementary (Celanese’s sister school in the Clear Lake area) to perform these chemistry demonstrations have become far more than a distraction from their daily class schedule. Each year when the October day approaches, the kids wonder what new and mesmerizing scientific demonstrations will “wow” them. Also each year, the scientists receive a rare pleasure to be treated like rock-stars when they arrive on campus. There are few things more gratifying than watching excited children in their orderly lines waiting to meet the R&D crew who bring the materials for the day’s show. The lines become chaotic as they rush over with giggles and screams just to express how excited they are that they will be participating in this year’s chemistry show. When was the last time chemists were treated as if they were LeBron James or Kanye West appearing for a sold-out event? The payoff for the scientists is not in dollars, but in deep breaths and bulging eyes after each demonstration.

As Hans Selye said: “The true scientist never loses the faculty of amazement. It is the essence of his being.”

 

What the chemists from Clear Lake R&D have accomplished is to create that amazement in young scientists with the hope that it remains with them forever.

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About the author


				

Grant Proulx is the R&D Group Leader at Celanese in Clear Lake, TX. In his free time he enjoys surfing, gardening, playing the piano and raising two teenagers.

There are 7 comments. Add yours.

  1. Trinity Hale says:

    The amount of effort on you and the teams part is awesome to see, and the excitement of the students and the curiosity it inspires is a great legacy. Shows the good things that chemistry and Celanese can do for and in the community.

  2. Harrie Schoots says:

    well done…i didn’t know i was saying hello each day to a secret Clown Chemist in the office! thanks for sharing the story.

  3. Mildred Mercado says:

    I’m a ChemE and not a chemist but I’ve always loved participating in these kind of events… It’s so rewarding to bring this type of experience to kids. Great job! PS… Those tie-dye lab coats rock!

  4. Lauren Valentino says:

    A school is more than books and desks and learning two plus two.
    It’s people like you and the other volunteers who share their skills and care. The school’s a better place because of your dedication.

    GREAT JOB ROCK STARS!!!

  5. Jen Zetusky says:

    These shows are so awesome! I’m proud to have been apart of these demos for the past 3 years. The looks on the kids faces and the enthusiasm of everyone is amazingy. Grant you are a great MC and teacher or science!

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