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Students started their week with a bang as Dr. Kate Biberdorf, a lecturer at The University of Texas, set fire to chemicals and triggered explosions during visits to Harlingen High School and Harlingen High School South on Monday, February 13.

Representatives from UT’s College of Natural Sciences were on a mission to get students excited about science.

“Dr. Biberdorf does these phenomenal chemistry demonstrations that really show how much fun science is and the types of things we’re doing at UT,” said UT’s dean of natural sciences, Linda Hicke. “UT has one of the largest colleges of natural sciences across the nation. We have phenomenally innovative and exciting undergraduate science programs that are being replicated across the nation and really get students when they get to the college as freshmen to really get excited about science and doing independent novel research projects right off the bat.”

Biberdorf, who is well-known at UT for her explosive experiments, put on a thrilling Fun with Chemistry presentation that captivated students while teaching them the basic principles of chemistry.

“I am here to blow stuff up and try to prove that science is fun and that anybody can do it,” Biberdorf said. “You don’t have to be a dork to like science. I am a normal girl who likes to blow stuff up. But realistically what we are trying to do is show people what it’s like if they come to UT Austin. This is what I do in my classroom. I love blowing things up and today we are going to focus specifically on combustion.”

Fun with Chemistry is an outreach program designed to ignite, inspire, and motivate K-12 students to develop a love for learning and exploration in the sciences.

Click here for more photos from the event.

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