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A little of this, a little of that …


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This isn’t your ordinary chemistry class. Dr. Kate “The Chemist” Biberdorf of the University of Texas at Austin instructs Joel Perry on how to make elephant toothpaste. During her presentation at the Science and Art Festival organized by the Roswell Museum and Art Center, Biberdorf guides Perry through the steps of adding some food coloring and dish soap to hydrogen peroxide. The result is something that starts out as an explosive mixture and turns into a billowing goop of colorful foam. “Chemistry is our global topic, but we are going to break that down into physical and chemical changes,” Biberdorf told the large crowd that gathered to watch the 11 demonstrations. Biberdorf seeks to inspire people, especially youth and girls, to be interested in science. “You are looking at the girl who grew up with Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill. You know Bill, Bill Nye the Science Guy?” she asked. “I like him. He’s my favorite. But wouldn’t it have been nice if there had been a female scientist, just one?” Biberdorf, a chemistry lecturer and director of demonstrations and outreach at UT, has received national attention for her interactive presentations. Other activities of the day included exhibits on archaeology, agriculture, drones, astronomy, food production, cave explorations, aviation, hydrogen-powered go-carts, fossils and fractals presented by local schools and universities, educational organizations and county, state and federal agencies. Youth also were able to try their hand at some science experiments and to make straw rockets, art bots or other science-inspired crafts. Performances by acrobats, improv workshops and demonstrations of student science projects filled out the day. Key sponsors of the event were Xcel Energy and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.