Public invited to reenact Ramon experiment to break record

Chemistry experiment that was conducted in space by late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon to be reenacted in Guiness Book of Records bid.

‘Scientists’ Evening’ at Hebrew University 311 (photo credit: Courtesy of Hebrew University)
‘Scientists’ Evening’ at Hebrew University 311
(photo credit: Courtesy of Hebrew University)
A chemistry experiment that was conducted in space by the late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon on the ill-fated 2003 Columbia shuttle will be reenacted on September 22 at Ben- Gurion University of the Negev.
The reenactment - which was organized by the Science and Technology Ministry - will compete for Guiness Book of Records’ achievement as the world’s “biggest mass chemistry lesson to be conducted simultaneously in different places.”
The Beersheba university is one of a dozen academic and scientific institutions that will participate in the Science and Technology Ministry’s “Scientists’ Evening” activities next Thursday that will be open free to the general public. BGU will host lectures, organized tours, meetings with scientists, experiments and other activities between 5 and 10 p.m.
Scientists’ Evening events have been taking place since 2007 in Israel and in Europe.
This year, they involve chemistry to mark the International Chemistry Year recognized by the UN.
Ramon’s reenacted experiment can be performed by adults or children with no scientific background, BGU said.
The experiment, which completed six hours after the shuttle’s takeoff, involved testing the chemical reaction in “growing” crystals in a solution under conditions of gravity.
Participants in the popular science activities – organized by the ministry with help from the Industry and Trade Ministry’s Chief Scientist’s Office and Israeli and European research institutes – will be able to mix chemicals and see reactions in a few minutes that will produce a blue-and-white Israeli flag design with a gold background.
Guiness has already approved the experiment for registration as a possible record.
The current record for simultaneous participation in a chemistry lesson is 562 people in Brussels. The record is expected to be broken in Israel’s upcoming experiment, where the various institutions will direct the experiment in their facilities.
Also participating in the experiment are The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, the University of Haifa, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv University, the Sami Shamoon College of Engineering, Jerusalem’s Bloomfield Science Museum, Haifa’s Madatech – Israel’s national science museum, the Kiryat Yam Science Park, the ORT Braude College and the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institution in Eilat.
At the Weizmann Institute, there will be encounters with scientists about the asteroids, superconductors, quantum physics and the energy crisis among others and experiments for children as well as adults. At Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus, science lectures will range from crime solving to the cancer-fighting properties of titanium.
More information is available at the various institutions’ websites.