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Moore and Madsen groups reach out to K-12 students and parents at the Virginia Tech Science Festival

Group of students at the Virginia Tech Science Festival

(January 29, 2018) Last November, the research groups of Professors Bob Moore and Lou Madsen joined forces for the annual Virginia Tech Science Festival, organizing an interactive "gel science" exhibit titled "Are you gellin'?". The booth, created by a group of eight graduate students led by Kristen Felice, saw over 400 visitors over the course of the six-hour festival. Kids got to make "slime" gel networks with a polymer, poly(vinyl alcohol), and a crosslinking agent, sodium borate (commonly known as borax); watch as ions conducted through a gel to power a lightbulb and learn how long macromolecules join together to form gels and solids. Both the kids and their parents alike enjoyed and learned from the exhibit, asking questions and soaking in the science. Both research groups regularly participate in community outreach events, such as last year's science festival and through events with KidsTech University, a program associated with the Virginia Tech Biocomplexity Institute.