Fire, smoke, popping and booming Mad Science elicited shouts and cheers from children at Kutztown Community Library.
“The main goal was to inspire them in science, to get them to understand that no matter what we want to do, there is a science behind it,” said Mad Scientist Bill Peterson.
“If you want to be a pro-football player, science will help you be a better pro-football player. If you want to be an artist, science will help you be a better artist.”
The director of Mad Science in Lehigh Valley presented Spin, Pop, Boom as part of the library’s Fizz, Boom, Read summer reading program on Aug. 7.
“Our main goal was to get kids to understand that science is all around us,” said Peterson.
Science experiments included magic tricks, fun with smoke rings, spinning objects, paper going up in flames in a flash and the booming of chemical reactions. Volunteers had a chance to lend a hand in some of the experiments, or in one case, her dress, and in another experiment, his head as smoke rings were shot at a cup balanced on top of his head.
“The big thing I wanted the kids to understand today was physical and chemical change,” he said.
Peterson talked about atoms and molecules, how we can change and create or tear apart and destroy things. The children learned about centripetal and centrifugal force, and made music from chemical reactions.
“Our goal at Mad Science is we try to get people excited about science. Science is really cool and affects everything we do,” said Peterson.
His favorite part of the job is getting out to see the children.
“I always like things that involve fire. I think that’s fun. Or maybe something that might explode, that’s fun, too. But our foam factory was fun, too, so I’m going to have so say I think it’s all fun, every bit of it!”
Talking to a small group of children after the program who stayed to ask him questions, he asked them, “When you have fun, you’re watching us and you’re interested, do you end up learning something?”
“Yes,” was their answer as they smiled at the Mad Scientist.