The Chemical History of the Candle

Eli Whitney Museum

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Ages 9 – 12

Thumbnail of The Chemical History of the Candle project

Vacation Program

  • Tuesday, December 27, 2016
  • 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Designed for ages 9 to 12
  • By Wm Brown, Director Emeritus, EWM

200 years ago, in Eli Whitney's time, the great English experimenter, Michael Faraday, established Christmas Lectures for Children at the Royal Institution in London. His talks on the Chemical History of the Candle were the most famous of those lectures. He showed that simple experiments with a candle could introduce important ideas in chemistry.

Watch parts of those lectures recreated (and updated a bit) by Bill Hammack. Then try the experiments yourself. NOTE TO PARENTS: The experiments will include lighting candles with careful supervision. We will not include Faraday's suggestion to try this at home.

Faraday was also famous for his experiments with electricity. He built the first generator. Build a generator that can light an LED.

This workshop will make a donation to Let There Be Light International, an organization that contributes solar-powered lights to families who are replacing dangerous open flames as their only source of light to work after sunset.

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