‘Science is delicious' at Kutztown Library

Photo by Lisa Mitchell Don Bucci, Air Products engineer, presents a liquid nitrogen demonstration during Kutztown Community Library's Fizz, Boom, Read summer reading program on July 31.
Photo by Lisa Mitchell Youth Librarian Joy Newswanger and Don Bucci, Air Products engineer, make ice cream using liquid nitrogen.

“Science is delicious!” said Kutztown 9-year-old Deanna Moyer after eating ice cream made using liquid nitrogen.

“It was great,” she said about the Kutztown Community Library program. Her favorite part was the ice cream. She learned “that nitrogen can do lots of stuff.”

Kutztown resident Don Bucci, engineer at Air Products, presented a liquid nitrogen demonstration July 31 during the Fizz, Boom, Read summer reading program.

“Our program is basically to expose young children to the wonders and magic of science to let them know certain things that are around them everyday exhibit some pretty special properties,” said Bucci, Global Supply Chain Manager at Air Products. “And also to get them interested enough to want to be able to continue on and become scientists, engineers, doctors and lawyers.”

Air Products in Trexlertown presents about 250 demonstrations a year to a wide range of people. World wide, Air Products presents about 1,200 demos.

“The other reason we do these demos is to track top talent,” he said.

About 40 engineers, he’s lost track of the exact number, have come up to him after Air Products hires them, and they tell Bucci that they remember him doing a demo for them in fourth grade, saying, “That’s when I decided I wanted to be an engineer.”

“It’s always extremely rewarding when someone remembers this from their fourth grade experience,” said Bucci, who has been running the demo program for the past 34 years.

During the demo at Kutztown Library in front of a packed room of children and their parents, Bucci explained what nitrogen is and its uses. Nitrogen sucked the air out of a container, blowing the candles out. He froze a hot dog in what seemed like no time at all, and then easily smashed the hot dog with a mallet. There were also experiments with freezing flowers, blowing up balloons and shooting balls across the room, the last of which elicited screams and shouts from the audience.

“As you can see, nitrogen freezes things, shrinks things, blows things up, it does a whole lot,” he said.

Bucci explained to The Patriot that the program “provides an appreciation of how you have to treat a gas that could be an asphyxiant, could be cryogenic.”

“Also, Air Products doesn’t sell anything directly to the consumer,” said Bucci. “But absolutely everything you buy is something that probably we have touched.”

From putting gas in light bulbs to assisting in making car parts, Air Products provides the gas. Air Products even provides gas to NASA.

“People don’t realize that Air Products is part of their everyday life,” said Bucci. “Almost any item on the store shelf has something to do with an industrial gas.”

To conclude the event, Youth Librarian Joy Newswanger assisted Bucci as he made ice cream using liquid nitrogen. And everybody had a taste of the science experiment!

About the Author

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is the editor of The Kutztown Patriot and Managing Editor of Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at lmitchell@berksmontnews.com or follow Lisa on Twitter: @kutztownpatriot.