The WI Local Section is one of the co-sponsors of the WI Crystal Growing Contest. In 2017 the four contest winners went on to work with CASIS (Center for the Advancement of Science in Space) to design a crystallization experiment to be conducted aboard the International Space Station in April 2018. Their challenges included: Do crystals grown in space differ from the ones grown on Earth? Do compounds crystallize differently in space? What hardware does one use to conduct a crystallization experiment in space? Fuller information is below:
It has just been announced that the WI Space Crystal Mission will take place again in 2018!
Do crystals grown in space differ from the ones grown on Earth? Do compounds crystallize differently in space? What hardware does one use to conduct a crystallization experiment in space? Answers to these questions are being sought by the winners of the 2017 WI state-wide Crystal Growing Contest (WICGC), co-sponsored by the ACS WI Local Section. The four laureates have been collaborating with the Molecular Structure Laboratory and scientists from the CASIS, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, to design two crystal-growing experiments to be conducted aboard the International Space Station in April 2018. To qualify for this honor, three middle and three high school students won top prizes in the WICGC by growing high-quality crystals and creating crystal-inspired artworks.
The annual WICGC has been organized since 2014 by the departmental Molecular Structure Laboratory to promote the Wisconsin Idea, introduce participants to the scientific method, and inspire the next generation of young scientists. The 2018 WICGC began on March 1, 2018. Participants include 621 middle-school and high-school students as well home-schooled youths ages 11–18 from 21 middle and 26 high schools. Science teacher participation is the highest to date with 19 middle-school and 15 high-school teachers and home-schooling parents. The state-wide competition attracted participants across the state from Menomonie to Luxemburg and from Phillips to Salem. The free contest offers an introduction to solution chemistry, laboratory work, team partnership, a prospect to succeed at a new endeavor, and an opportunity to visit the UW–Madison campus and a flagship Chemistry Department. At the May 18, 2018 award ceremony Chemistry Department chair Prof. Judith Burstyn will communicate the significant role of the department on campus; Prof. John Moore and Luke Oxtoby will give a lecture with chemical demonstrations; guest speaker from CASIS, Dr. Marc Giulianotti will describe the International Space Station and its function in the scientific community. The winners will be recognized with certificates, books, T-shirts, and cash prizes. The six top winners will qualify for the 2018 WI Space Crystal Mission!
Numerous ACS and ACS WI Local Section members have helped with the organization of the contest, whereas industrial and non-profit sponsors provided financial support to this important outreach activity.