Annual Hartung Youth Lecture

Annual Hartung Youth Lecture

15 Aug 2011

 “From Barking Dogs to Magic Sand - putting chemical toys to work”

HartungThe Hartung Youth Lecture Series, sponsored by The Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), is targeted at secondary students in Years 10 and 11, and aims to inspire a love of and fascination with science. The lecture will be hosted by four separate university campuses across Victoria.

This year will be the third year that La Trobe Albury-Wodonga has sponsored the lecture – and over 200 students from nine local and regional secondary schools will attend. The lecture will be held on Wednesday 17 August 10.30 to 11.30am and 1.00 to 2.00pm.

The 2011 Hartung Youth lecturer is Dr Jeff Hughes, Senior Lecturer in Applied Chemistry, RMIT University.

Dr Jeff Hughes is a senior lecturer at RMIT University and has been teaching at RMIT since 1987.  Jeff teaches mainly Physical Chemistry and Environmental Science.  Jeff has long had an interest in the fun side of chemistry. He organised Chemistry Magic Shows for RMIT Open Day for many years, and has given similar shows at primary schools as part of ‘Chemists in Schools’. He also has an interest in incorporating lecture demonstrations into his classes and is always on the lookout for new and interesting examples.

The lecture promises to be an engaging and educational experience, in the tradition of the lectures given by Professor Hartung over 50 years ago.

There are many ‘chemical’ toys and reactions which have been used in demonstrations that display unusual effects. These are fun to try but, in many cases, also demonstrate properties of new or unusual materials.  Magnetic fluids, thixotropic fluids, non-Newtonian materials, super-absorbent polymers, shape-specific alloys and chemiluminescent compounds are all examples of these materials. They not only have fun properties, but also have been found to have important applications. These range from disposable nappies to waterproof raincoats to detecting bloodstains at crime scenes. This lecture will look at some of these toys – not just their fun properties, but also how they work.

The Hartung Youth Lectures are held in National Science Week: 13th-21st August for 2011. This year is also the International Year of Chemistry.

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