- Associated Press - Monday, February 20, 2017

HARLINGEN, Texas (AP) - Harlingen South senior Alejandro Garcia shook up a 5-gallon jug filled with a small amount of propanol in front of the sophomore class.

Then he set the jug on the table, uncovered the top with his hand and ran before Dr. Kate Biberdorf, better known as Dr. B., turned the jug into an alcohol cannon.

The Valley Morning Star (https://bit.ly/2lPVynw ) reports Dr. B. hovered a torch over the top and ignited the super alcohol.

The experiment created a large inferno inside the jug and shot a flame nearly 2 feet high.

“I’m here to blow stuff up and prove science is fun,” Dr. B. said.

She not only was blowing stuff up, but was shooting soda bottle rockets across the gym and even blowing fire from her mouth using kitchen products.

For the “fire-breathing dragon” demonstration, she blew corn starch from her mouth into a torch flame.

Dr. B. is a lecturer for the University of Texas-Austin College of Natural Sciences/Chemistry Department and director of demonstrations and outreach.

“This is my first presentation in Harlingen, and I loved it. The students were amazing,” Dr. B. said during a recent appearance at Harlingen South.

She brought the department’s “Fun with Chemistry” program, which includes Dr. B.’s bag of science experiments - big and small - that she demonstrates to spark students’ love for science.

“It’s something we don’t get to see even as adults. So for our kids to experience this first hand at their school is phenomenal,” said Roxanna Moore, Harlingen South Advanced Placement chemistry teacher. “Chemistry is a very challenging course for students to take. It’s the first time they see math and science collide.”

Dr. B. believes anyone can be a scientist. She recalled being inspired in the 10th grade by her chemistry teacher in Michigan.

She said her aspirations in the science world is to be the next Bill Nye the Science Guy. She is forging her path doing outreach in math and science kindergarten to grade 12 with her Fun with Chemistry presentations.

“Every time Dr. B. goes out and does demonstrations, students express an interest in science,” said Linda Hicke, UT School of Natural Science dean. “Dr. B. has an incredible talent for teaching and outreach.”

She said the trip to the Valley was to excite students about science and to introduce them to the university’s natural science chemistry department.

Dr. B. also visited Harlingen High School. She also travelled to McAllen High schools demonstrating her science experiments.

“She is an incredible ambassador for how fun science is for the younger generation,” Hicke said. “I think she is going to surpass Bill Nye the Science Guy.”


Information from: Valley Morning Star, https://www.valleystar.com

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