Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream, from UO to Elementary School.

There are a lot of reasons to become a chemical engineer. You get to come up with ways to transform materials into other materials. You could synthesize drugs for doctors, create the latest materials, create proteins or invent new materials.

Oh, and when you’re in grad school, you can make ice cream with liquid nitrogen as an outreach program for elementary school kids. Kind of awesome.

Jeffrey Engle and Ashley Lamm, both University of Oregon chemistry grad students, went to Central Elementary School in Albany to put on a demonstration for some 3rd grade students. In the demo, they mixed milk sugar and vanilla in a bowl, and then doused the mixture with liquid nitrogen.

Normally, you put all the ingredients in a bag, surround it with ice, and churn it until it turns into ice cream. Because of all the ice you can’t see what changes the ice cream is going through.

But because they used liquid nitrogen, the transformation occurred right in front of everyone. And it also made a huge cloud of fog, which is pretty cool.

They did this as part of a program called GK-12, for which they go around to elementary schools to try and get teachers and students to focus on how important (read: awesome) science is.

Think ice cream will get their attention?

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