Bringing science to life
Kids thrilled by mad scientist from Montreal

Malcolm Gorrill
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Aug 11/00) - A group of children met up with a mad scientist of sorts last Friday.

It was Mad Science Day at the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex, and putting on demonstrations was Marie-Eve Farmer of Mad Science in Montreal.

Farmer said her job, which she's done for about 18 months, consists of showing kids the fun side of science.

"Even kids who don't like science would like this," Farmer said.

Melanie Ouellet certainly did.

"It was interesting," Ouellet said.

Her favourite part was when they got to launch a rocket.

"We were outside and she (Farmer) put it on a stick thingy and it went up in the air," Ouellet said.

The lessons were based on a number of themes, ranging from the wind to how police use science to investigate crime.

"We talked about detectives, showing how the detectives use science -- identifying powders with chemicals and all that, and fingerprints," Farmer explained.

"After detective it was chemistry itself, so we would see physical and chemical reactions, and then after that, actions, some chemical reactions," she said.

"After chemistry it was the wind. So we'd just see how the wind is created and what it can do. Like, with a hair dryer we made a ping pong ball float in the air," Farmer said. "We did a race, people passing each other the hair dryer."

Farmer also had the kids make small windmills to show how they catch the wind.

Before launching a rocket, Farmer explained its design and talked about the force of propulsion.

She also had the kids make paper airplanes and fly them.

The kids then used special glasses to learn about bugs.

"You put them on and ... rather than seeing you once, I see you millions of times, because that's the way bugs see. So when they put the glasses on, they come to have bugs eyes.

"Finally I had my magic show. It's doing magic at first, and then I show them the tricks," Farmer said. "A lot of magic is done with science."

Farmer said that Mad Science employees visit lots of schools, birthday parties and summer camps. She was in the midst of a tour of the NWT that would take her to 17 communities.

"Every year they send people to do a tour around the Northwest Territories to do one day with the kids, and I've been the lucky one."