SMC changes art gallery to chem lab

DOWAGIAC — True to chemistry’s core element of “change,” Southwestern Michigan College changed its art gallery into a chemistry laboratory through March 29 in room 108 of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus.

Visual and Performing Arts Chairman Marc Dombrosky designed “Chem Lab” with chemistry faculty Douglas Schauer and Eleanor Bliese, continuing a collaboration created with STE(A)MCon, a 2016 event involving 100 students and teachers from a dozen schools.

This exhibit explores possibilities of the gallery as lab — part exhibition, part experiment -— and revolves around five stations investigating hygroscopicity, crystallization, oxidation/corrosion, metallurgy/alchemy and solubility. The rear gallery displays working notes, lab journals, ephemera and recorded projection of a CHEM 202 lecture presentation on the formation of acetals and ketals. Visitors are invited to log observable data for hygroscopicity, the capacity of something to react to air moisture by absorbing or releasing water vapor.

“Navigate the show the same way I navigated science,” Schauer said. “Go to the first thing that catches your eye. As a freshman in college taking general chemistry, I had very little interest in chemistry. It wasn’t until I took organic chemistry that I fell in love with it. From that point on, I also became interested in things happening in general chemistry.”

Schauer encouraged visitors to think about the exhibit from the aspect of on-going change.

“I look for change,” Schauer said. “The Chinese symbol used to describe chemistry directly translates to change. If chemistry was static and stayed the same, nobody would care about it. Everything here represents some kind of change. Crystallization produces every mineral you can imagine — diamonds, rubies, quartz. Being able to create crystals is considered more an art than a science. Flat surfaces are due to the actual microscopic structure of chemicals that makes it up. For me, not only is change important, but also recognizing the link between what’s happening on the microscopic scale versus what you’re seeing in the real world around you.”

The exhibition is intended to be interactive, including visitor surveys, which Schauer said he is carefully reviewing.

“I was extremely shocked by one data point that’s pretty consistent throughout all of the surveys, and I’m trying to predict what the results will be,” he said.

Buchanan

Local DAR chapter donates to second-grade classroom

Buchanan

Buchanan event inviting community to partake in traditional practice of peace, hope

Cass County

Cass County law enforcement agencies host Halloween with a Cop event

News

Niles City Clerk offers voting advice

Dowagiac

Dowagiac residents finding creative ways to have fun, safe Halloween

Dowagiac

Dowagiac restaurant manager fired following criminal sexual conduct arrest

Berrien County

MDHHS extends emergency orders

Cassopolis

Cassopolis opens new municipal complex

Edwardsburg

Duo Form donates face shields to Edwardsburg Fire Department

Edwardsburg

PHOTO STORY: Community celebrates Edwardsburg firefighter with parade

Berrien County

Berrien County health professionals warn residents to remain vigilant

News

South Bend Police Department seeking information regarding missing Niles man

Cass County

DASAS welcomes new executive director

Business

Cass County businesses struggle amid increase in COVID-19 cases

News

MDHHS adds testing requirements for homes for the aged, large adult foster care facilities

Berrien County

Two injured at Old U.S. 31 and Ullery

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien County reports additional COVID-19 death

Dowagiac

Dowagiac restaurateur arrested on criminal sexual conduct charges

Buchanan

Bike Buchanan pedals last ride of season

Buchanan

Caring Circle Services relocating to Niles

Dowagiac

SMC Board of Trustees devotes day to long-range planning

Cass County

Cass County COA celebrates veterans with online photo, story project

Berrien County

Salvation Army seeks volunteers for annual campaign

Buchanan

Buchanan Field of Dreams Dog Park gets 10 new trees