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Blow Stuff Up Day

An explosive student organization

By Tony Romain
On April 24, 2012

Students with an aptitude for chemistry can find kinship in the Society for Chemistry Undergraduate Majoring Students (SCUMS).

The objective of SCUMS is to provide an opportunity for those students who are interested in chemistry to become better acquainted and to raise awareness of Southeastern's chemistry program. While the title of the group suggests that only chemistry majors may join, the club is actually open to anyone.

"You just have to have an interest in chemistry," said SCUMS President Amber Bordelon. "Just show up at one of our meetings. We do have dues, so if you're a new member, you pay a little more than a returning member."

Those dues help to pay for materials for events such as "Blow Stuff Up Day," which the group hosted on Thursday, April 5. New members are required to pay $10 while returning members are only asked to pay $5 a semester.

"We do offer food at our meeting so you get something back for your money," said Bordelon.

There are currently no other requirements to join other than filling out an application, paying the new member fee and attending the meetings which are held every other Monday at 5 p.m. in the student lounge in Pursley Hall, with the next one scheduled for April 30.

According to the SCUMS website, they "want everyone with an interest in chemistry, regardless of major, to be able to get together on a regular basis to talk about common interests and to have fun."

The events they host are aimed to be both fun and educational. At Blow Stuff Up Day they displayed several explosive chemical reactions, including the demonstration of a thermite reaction by Dr. Eric Booth.

"With thermite, you've got two things," explained Booth. "You've got iron-3 oxide, which is rust, and you've got aluminum powder. Now, aluminum wants to lose 3 electrons and the iron atoms in that mixture have a plus 3 charge, so they want to grab those electrons. So if you heat that mixture up enough to the point where the aluminum melts, then those electrons go from the aluminum to the positively charged iron and they release such a gigantic amount of energy in the process that you wind up with molten iron."

For more information about SCUMS you can check out their website by entering "SCUMS" in the search bar on the Southeastern homepage.


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