Chemistry unveils the Timeline of Elements mural at the 2019 Science Open House

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

This past Saturday, the University of Waterloo Science buildings were filled with laughter, smiles, and exclamations of discovery, as local families gathered for a day of curiosity-driven exploration and experimentation at the annual Science Open House and Gem and Mineral Show.

As always, the two Chemistry Magic Shows drew big crowds, each time filling the 450-person lecture hall in STC. This year’s show was based on elements and the periodic table to fit in with the Timeline of Elements mural unveiling, which took place during Science Open House. 

Chemistry show composite photo showing students on stage desmonstrating the vomiting pumpkin and glowing sun.Demonstrations included explosions with hydrogen and oxygen, coloured flames with metal salts, the “phosphorus sun” (burning phosphorus in oxygen, pictured above), carbon burning in oxygen, an oscillating clock reaction with multiple colours, a barfing pumpkin (pictured above), and magnesium burning inside a dry ice block. The show was spearheaded by Professor Mike Chong with help from Chemistry graduate students, Avery To and Monika Snowdon, and Chemistry undergrads Lilli Temple-Murray and Luke Glofcheskie.

The unveiling of the Timeline of Elements interactive mural - a featured event at this year's Science Open House - took place later that afternoon. Chem 13 News, the Department of Chemistry and the Faculty of Science worked together to create the new international exhibit and educational website as part of the United Nations' 2019 International Year of the Periodic Table initiative.

The impressive 16-meter long version of the Timeline, located in the basement STC, includes artwork from students from 118 schools in 28 different countries, depicting each element and its discovery by decade. Added to that is a mosaic of Dmitri Mendeleev, made up of tiny portraits of Mendeleev created by students worldwide, alongside interactive exhibit panels showcasing the discovery tools and methods of some of the elements.

Hundreds attended the opening, which featured Timeline swag, cookies spelling out "U-W Sc-I 20-19" in element symbols, and speeches by the Department Chair Bill Power, Dean of Science Bob Lemieux, Science Museum Coordinator Corina McDonald, as well as Tina Kalopisis from 3M Canada, who sponsored the installation of the mural.

Child standing and looking at a mosaic of Dmitri Mendeleev.

"The Science Open House and the Timeline of the Elements exhibit both celebrate the spirit of discovery that we encourage here in the Faculty of Science,” says Corina McDonald, Museum Curator for Waterloo’s Faculty of Science. “The stories of discovery of the elements are fascinating, and have been depicted in such creative ways in the exhibit! It’s a beautiful learning resource, which we hope to share with not only our students, but the broader community as well."

Tina Kalopisis  Corina McDonald, Heather Neufeld, Jean Hein, Jaime, Bill Power, and Bob Lemieux.Left to right: Tina Kalopisis (3M Canada), Corina McDonald (Museum Curator, Faculty of Science), Heather Neufeld (Outreach Coordinator, Faculty of Science), Jean Hein (former editor, Chem 13 News), Jaime Simons (Timeline of Elements co-op student), Bill Power (Chair, Department of Chemistry), and Bob Lemieux (Dean, Faculty of Science).

Read more about the unveiling event in The Record.

Thank you to all the community members who attended the Science Open House and the unveiling celebration!

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