Light Up The Night With Chemistry In the Dark
We're either going to glow it up or blow it up!
Upcoming Event: May 13, 2023 (Rain date: May 19 or 20, depending on the forecast)
Join the conversation on social media using #CUChemMagic!
Welcome to a fun and educational evening for the whole family (ages 6 and up). The festivities will begin with hands-on activities from 7:00 to 8:40 p.m. The free one-hour chemistry magic show will start at dusk (approximately 8:45 p.m.).
Guests are welcome to bring blankets or lawn chairs to sit on. Guests with lawn chairs will be seated behind those guests without chairs so that everyone can see the show.
Instead of charging admission for this event, we will be accepting donations of cash and non-perishable food for the Ottawa Food Bank. We do this because we want our event to be open and accessible to everyone in our city.
As both educators and parents, those of us that coordinate Carleton’s Chemistry Magic Show recognize that it is hard to learn when you are hungry and struggling in school can have life-long implications. Food poverty and insecurity also disproportionately impacts children. That’s why we direct all cash donations to the Ottawa Food Bank’s programs that support food in Ottawa-area schools.
Our goal for this event is to inspire, entertain and inform! We aim to wow you with the visual power of our demonstrations, highlight the underlying chemical and scientific principles behind them, and explain their applications and impacts on our everyday lives.
Our Chemistry Magic Show will be part of both Science Rendezvous, a national day of celebration of science in Canada and activities to inspire young people to be enthusiastic about science, and Science Odyssey, ten-day Canada-wide celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The activities and show will be held in Alumni Park (next to Robertson Hall) on Carleton University’s campus. There are no tickets and all the activities are free! The show will start at dusk (approximately 8:45 p.m.) and we will have some hands-on activities starting at 7:00 p.m.
Hands-on activities (more details below): 7:00 – 8:40 p.m.
Chemistry Magic Show: 8:45 p.m. until approximately 9:45 p.m.
FREE!!! However, we will be accepting donations of cash and non-perishable food for the Ottawa Food Bank (suggested donation is $3 or 1 or 2 food items per person).
Parking is available on campus (See: Campus Map) in the parking garage (P9) next to Robertson Hall.
Please scan the QR code and use discount code MAGIC for free parking:
Carleton is also accessible via OC Transpo routes 2, 7, 10, and 111
Hands-on Activities Start at 7:00 p.m.
There will be hands-on activities before the show starting at 7 p.m. You can make ice cream with liquid nitrogen (and yes, of course you can eat it!), encounter interesting smells (from the pleasant aromas of spices to the not so nice aromas of sweaty feet, and everything in between), learn about fluorescence and phosphorescence, discover the secret to making great bubbles, see some of the demonstrations up close, and much more.
Come see us on May 13!
Jessie Cartwright, Outreach and Community Engagement Officer
Professor Jeff Manthorpe
Fun for the whole family
For more than a decade, the Department of Chemistry has presented Light Up the Night with Chemistry in the Dark – a free, one-hour show in May, at which audience members can take a look at the inner workings of fireworks, spontaneous combustions and things that glow in the dark. In addition to the outdoor evening show, the department now hosts an annual indoor Chemistry Magic Show during the winter months. The magic shows are a favourite with Ottawa residents of all ages.
Before the show, participants are given the opportunity to see some of the experiments up close, and to engage in hands-on activities like making ice cream with liquid nitrogen, encountering lots of interesting smells (including molecules that are left- or right-handed), and much more.
The show begins with eye-popping demonstrations followed by an explanation of the underlying chemical and scientific principles which cause them and the impacts these principles have on our everyday lives. Shows have featured posters about the chemistry of wine and chocolate and a presentation on how advances in chemistry affected the First World War.
An event for the community
Instead of charging admission for this event, the department accepts donations of cash and non-perishable food for the Ottawa Food Bank, allowing the event to be open and accessible to everyone in our community. All cash donations go to the Ottawa Food Bank’s programs that support food in Ottawa-area schools.
The Chemistry Magic Show is part of both Science Rendezvous, a national day of celebration of science in Canada and activities to inspire young people to be enthusiastic about science, and Science Odyssey, a ten-day Canada-wide celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
From ‘Chemistry is pHun’ to the ‘Chemistry Magic Show’
For kids young and old in Ottawa, Carleton University’s Chemistry Magic Show has been a popular and accessible attraction since 2008. As a staple outreach event, the free shows use demonstrations to illustrate to the public how chemistry is not only fun and exciting, but far more prevalent, important and understandable than many people realize. From billowing smoke to big bangs (a crowd favourite), each demonstration has a simple chemical explanation.
Read the full story here.
2019 Indoor Show Stats
Total cash donations
Total food donations