Vice provost holds chemistry demonstration

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David Laude, chemistry professor and vice provost, demonstrates how to make ice cream using milk and nitrogen gas Friday. Laude performed multiple experiments during the demonstration to show kids that chemistry can be fun.

Photo Credit: Claire Schaper | Daily Texan Staff

While many students avoid taking difficult science classes, chemistry professor David Laude said they are not something people should be afraid of.

Laude, who is also a senior vice provost for enrollment and graduation management, presented a demonstration Friday evening to show how chemistry relates to almost everything in life.

Laude began his demonstration by making it clear the audience was not only going to have fun but also learn. 

“For those of you thinking I am doing a chemistry circus, I am not,” Laude said. “I am teaching chemistry.”

The event was hosted by the Environmental Science Institute as part of its "Hot Science - Cool Talks" series. Audience members of all ages were invited to take part in the demonstrations, and Laude said he wanted students to have hands-on opportunities to learn. 

According to Laude, chemistry can be interesting even if something is not exploding.

“Is it going to go ka-boom?” Laude said. “No, but something cooler will happen.”

Prior to the talk, an interactive fair was held in which different experiments were demonstrated, including freezing balloons with nitrogen and separating oil from water. Children were able to engage with Laude by taking part in the demonstrations when he asked for volunteers.

Sierra Johnson, a child who attended the chemistry demonstration, said she was entertained throughout the show, especially during the calorie-burning experiment. By burning food with high calories, Laude showed how much time calories take to burn. 

Chris Jones, a father who brought his two children, said he appreciated Laude’s integration of fun in learning science.

“I thought it was a very good overview of chemistry, and Laude did a very good job of introducing basic concepts to the audience,” Jones said. “I really liked all the demonstrations that were well matched to what he was trying to teach us.”

Laude said he has long been integrating fun into his teachings in hopes of keeping children active in the sciences.

“To get kids to stop staring at video screens, that’s my number one reason,” Laude said.

Government sophomore Mariadela Villegas also attended the event and said Laude’s presentation was entertaining and informative.

“I think it was great the way he presented the topics because the information he brought was not only understandable to college students, but also to the children who attended the presentation,” Villegas said.