Chemists are ‘Mad’ for education

Chemists are ‘Mad’ for education

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To most people, soap isn’t exciting.

To a Mississippi Power chemist, soap is a tool to teach students how exciting science can be.

And that’s exactly how Jimmy Dennis, Tony Magnusen and Meagan Malone – chemists at Plant Daniel – used soap at the Mad Scientist Super Saturday event in Pascagoula this weekend.

“We love science and fun experiments, so we wanted to share that passion with these young students,” Dennis said. “We performed an experiment that we call ‘Boo Bubbles.’”

Using dry ice, which is carbon dioxide, water and soap, the three chemists were able to perform some tasks with bubbles most kids wouldn’t think possible.

“Soap works by attaching to water, oils and dirt on your skin,” Dennis said. “By removing the oils and dirt by wearing a clean cotton glove, we are able to hold the bubble and bounce it around. It’s much more interesting than holding a normal bubble that you know should pop.”

This is the company’s third year to participate in the Mad Scientist event. More than 1,200 students and their parents came through the doors of the Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center.

“This fits right in with our strategy of promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and careers,” Community Development Representative Ann Holland said. “Science is a big component of our efforts and chemistry is one of the cooler jobs we offer as a career choice.”

And it also sheds some light onto an area of the utility industry that doesn’t receive a lot of publicity.

“For many people, the first thought that comes to mind about Mississippi Power is a lineman climbing a pole,” Holland said. “While that’s a great image, they may not understand the generation side of the business and how many different careers we have here.”