Chemistry professor reveals the science behind fireworks

June 24, 2009

by Jill Sakai

Come early to the Memorial Union Terrace this Saturday, June 27, to stake out a good seat for Rhythm and Booms and learn about the science behind the spectacle.

University of Wisconsin-Madison chemistry professor Bassam Shakhashiri and others from the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy will be giving a free public demonstration of the chemistry used to create the colors, shapes, light and explosive heat that combine to create fantastic firework displays.

The experiments and demonstrations will take place from 6:30-7:30 p.m., then stay to watch the show across Lake Mendota.

Although fireworks are based on everyday chemistry, they are potentially hazardous and should only be made and set off by trained professionals, Shakhashiri cautions.

More information about the chemistry of fireworks can be found here.