From Carnegie Science Center— More than 1,700 local students and other visitors will celebrate National Chemistry Week and the International Year of Chemistry with ChemFest at Carnegie Science Center on Friday, Oct. 21, from 10 am to 3 pm and Saturday, Oct. 22, from 10 am to 5 pm. This year, attendees will be able to explore how chemistry is used in the health and medical fields.

Almost everything around us has an element of chemistry, from the food we eat to the cars we drive to the technology we use. ChemFest provides an opportunity for visitors to get up-close to chemistry concepts, to meet local chemists and chemical companies, and to have lots of fun with exciting activities.

Participants will be able to interact with dozens of hands-on exhibit stations and action-packed demonstrations presented by more than 35 local companies, with Friday geared more toward students and Saturday aimed at the general public. Activities include making hand sanitizer, learning how to determine blood type through realistic simulations, creating invisible ink, testing food for specific vitamins and minerals, discovering how sunscreen works, making a soda geyser, and so much more.

Carnegie Science Center partners with companies like Bayer Corporation, PPG Industries, and the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh to offer career-focused, engaging, and informative programs for students and visitors. Also onsite on Friday and Saturday will be Carnegie Mellon University, Fisher Science Education, LANXESS Corporation, University of Pittsburgh, and Westinghouse Electric, just to name a few. The complete list can be found here.

New this year is Career Café, which invites high school students visiting on Friday to participate in a fast-paced introduction to chemistry careers in an informal setting. While enjoying café-style beverages, they can check out exciting demos and chat with industry professionals. Pre-registration is required for this event.

“Our partnerships with leading corporations like Bayer and PPG are really what make this event great,” says Linda Ortenzo, director of STEM Programs at Carnegie Science Center. “We are able to offer visitors more than just excellence in informal science education. Students who participate in our programs are able to meet professionals who are working in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, which helps young people see themselves innovators of the future.”

Nearly 1,700 students, most from underserved schools, will participate in ChemFest 2011 on Friday thanks to financial funding from PPG Industries Foundation, Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh, and Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh.

ChemFest 2011 celebrates the 24th anniversary of National Chemistry Week, whose mission is to help students and visitors understand the essential role chemistry plays in everyday life. This year also marks the International Year of Chemistry, and the 100th anniversary of Marie Curie’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

ChemFest has won 11 national awards in the past 12 years, largely thanks to V. Michael Mautino of Bayer MaterialScience, coordinator of National Chemistry Week for the Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society. Since 1999, ChemFest has served more than 58,000 people, including 11,400 underserved minority students and 700 inner-city community group members. Awards include “Best Event With Underrepresented Minority,” “Outstanding Event for a Specific Audience,” and “Outstanding Event for the Public Using a Yearly Theme,” among others. In 2010, ChemFest was recognized for “Outstanding Ongoing NCW Event.” Mautino recently was named an ACS Fellow for his many efforts relating to ChemFest and National Chemistry Week.