In Mount Airy at Earth – Bread + Brewery, patrons young and old were tricked and treated to a spectacle seemingly supernatural. Fred Schaefer, a chemistry professor from University of the Sciences, is a regular at the restaurant, recently showing patrons how physics and chemistry can be used to produce fun results.
One of Schaefer’s first experiments was creating gummy worms by putting sodium alginate in calcium chloride, making a stringy, rubbery worm..
When Schaefer puts on these displays, he often has a theme and this night was no different.
“The theme this month is trick-or-treat,” said Schaefer. “A lot of the [experiments] shown might be real or they might be fake.”
He made a bubbling cauldron with dry ice, universal indicator and calcium hydroxide. A reaction between a base and acid is shown in a way adults and children can both enjoy.
Schaefer uses showmanship and visible effects to explain chemistry. Schaefer originally started his demonstrations with what he calls “chemistry bar tricks.”
Donna Kramer, a patron at the restaurant with her two daughters, took notice of Schaefer’s unique methods.
“He makes it fun to learn why certain things happen,” said Kramer. “The kids learn science and don’t even know it.”