seal  Purdue News

October 21, 2003

Purdue chemistry show shines a light on candles

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The chemical history of the candle will be the theme of Purdue University's 31st annual fall chemistry show, which will be on campus Saturday (10/25) in Wetherill Hall, Room 200.

The show will be based on the presentations of Michael Faraday, the 19th century chemist who was internationally known for his simple, yet elegant, demonstrations of chemistry. The hourlong presentation begins at 11 a.m. and is free and open to the public.

"Faraday gave an especially popular demonstration on the chemistry involved in a burning candle," said Paul Smith, director of lecture demonstrations for Purdue's chemistry department. "His demonstrations involving candles will be central to this presentation, as will his observations on gases involved in combustion reactions. It should be entertaining for a wide audience."

Faraday, who lived from 1791 to 1867, came from very humble means. He was the son of a blacksmith and grew up in poverty. He has been revered for his many accomplishments as an experimentalist. Today society is greatly impacted by his discoveries, which led directly to the development of the electric motor, the dynamo and high-quality glass used for optics. He greatly influenced both the science of chemistry and the art of demonstrating it.

CONTACT: Paul Smith, (765) 494-5307,

Writer: Chad Boutin, (765) 494-2081,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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