This week’s Spooky Science activities are designed to give youngsters a taste of science wrapped up in a bunch of Halloween fun.
While he didn’t get the chance to attend such an event when he was a child, Luc Roberts, a doctoral student majoring in biochemistry, now has the chance to organize it through the Let’s Talk Science Outreach program at the University of Lethbridge.
“I really enjoy Spooky Science night. Everything’s exciting to younger children; they really like science and nothing is impossible. They have all these ideas and it’s good if you can get them interested in science at a young age,” says Roberts. “I see a lot of students here who came to some of our other Let’s Talk Science events. It’s nice to think that some people are joining the sciences because of us.”
He remembers the curiosity and creativity he had as a child, building with Lego blocks and getting out the screwdriver whenever a household appliance was broken so he could take it apart and see what was inside.
“I could never put it back together but I would take it apart, just because it was kind of cool inside,” he says.
Roberts, who grew up in Lethbridge, had a natural affinity for the sciences when he was in high school. When he began his studies at the U of L, he intended to become an engineer. Those plans changed when he found he enjoyed other sciences more than math. Biochemistry piqued his interest, especially after he took his first serious biochemistry course because he had to apply the knowledge he’d learned in previous classes to solve problems.
“It was just incredibly challenging and I really liked it,” he says.
Roberts and several other students have been organizing Spooky Science Weekend with Dr. Ute Kothe, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Let’s Talk Science Faculty supervisor, since September.
“Our biggest goal is to make it fun for the children so we put a lot of energy into finding really good activities, adding new activities, but also having safe activities,” says Kothe. “We want to excite the next generation and their parents for science, so that they enjoy and appreciate science and research and see the power of science in explaining the world.”
Children will participate in 13 activities, including making fake blood, fake snot, screaming balloons and small lava lamps. The evening includes a spooky chemistry show, complete with puking and exploding pumpkins, by Wayne Lippa, a U of L chemistry and biochemistry instructor.
“We have enthusiastic, happy children dressed up in their best costumes being focused and engaged in science and totally loving it. Just seeing their eyes is for me the biggest reward ever,” says Kothe.
Media can choose from three Spooky Science Weekend events, all held in the Atrium of University Hall. The Friday event goes from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday events go from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m.