Daring displays make Scifest a hit


Leah Smudzinski and Payton Giordano lead a demonstration involving lighting a bill on fire without tarnishing the money, on April 21 during the annual Scifest in the IVCC gym.

Scifest provided two hours of an interactive science life event filled with experiments, presentations, and specialty booths in the IVCC gym on Friday, April 21.
Organized by IVCC chemistry instructor, Matthew Johll, the free and public event took place in the IVCC gym.
Scifest is traditionally organized by IVCC’s CHEM/STEM Club and this year involved hands-on experiments and demonstrations like an inflatable planetarium, an imploding barrel, a fluidized sand bed, an augmented reality sandbox, a flamesound tube, a bed of nails, and more.
This year’s event featured lunar moon samples obtained by NASA on various space missions. The materials remained under police surveillance and were monitored by Dr. Johll, giving numerous attendees the rare opportunity to interact with these historic space samples.
Additionally, the event included a wide variety of activity booths that contained displays of chemistry, biology, genealogy, and physics.
One experiment led by IVCC Chemistry students Leah Smudzinski and Payton Giordano demonstrated the effective technique of lighting money on fire without tarnishing the bill.
Chem students demonstrated and explained the experiment to several attendees throughout the evening. When the bill is soaked into the solution, the water molecules soak into the bill while the alcohol remains on the surface. When the fire is put to the bill, the alcohol is what burns to leave the money intact.
Alex Johll took part in the annual bed of nails demonstration. He lay packed between two nail-covered planks, with a cinder block smashed on top of him with a sledgehammer.
He explained his experience, saying, “It definitely felt like laying on a bunch of really sharp nails, but it’s not really bad because there’s so many nails to distribute the weight evenly to where it’s more like you’re just laying on a really uncomfortable bed.”
What he demonstrated and described is that the bed of nails consists of a large number of nails placed close to one another. Both the weight of the demonstrator and the force of the blow on the cinderblock are distributed through a large number of sharp points. As a result, pressure applied to a single nail tip is insufficient to break the skin or cause harm.
The event also featured a station showcasing a liquid nitrogen ice cream experiment. Tim Nagel and Lindsay Nagel prepared ice cream and handed it out to several satisfied attendees.
For information on the event contact Johll at matthew_johll@ivcc. edu or (815) 224-0468.

A local grade-schooler visits a SciFest booth. (Mia Mazzorana)