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Curious Chemists Blend Science and Art to Address Climate Change, Inspiring Student Action

May 16, 2024 | News

In a captivating performance of scientific exploration and theatrical creativity, the production “Igniting Minds” by Curious Chemists took the stage of the ACS Athens Theater on May 15th, 2024. Hosted by the Institute of ACS Athens with the vision of theatrically exploring climate change to ignite young minds about science. Led by ACS Athens Science faculty member, Mr. Spyros Arsenikos, the show was meticulously prepared by a dedicated team of 18 students from the 9th to 11th grades. It served as a captivating, multisensory experience intended to both entertain and inform elementary and middle school audiences about the urgent issue of climate change.
The event opened with an introduction by Mr. Spyros Arsenikos, who set the tone for the afternoon. He highlighted the months of hard work invested by student scientists, a student art director, and two talented student narrators in creating this unique production. With an impressive lineup of 18-20 experiments, Mr. Arsenikos emphasized the unpredictable nature of live science demonstrations, playfully advising the young audience, “Don’t try this at home!”
As the lights dimmed, a dramatic Star Wars-inspired scroll introduced the existential threat posed by climate change, noting that two students who would serve as guardians of wisdom illuminating the way to the sustainable future. That is how the audience was introduced by Erin Sidereas and Marko Marvoleon, the narrators guiding us through this educational journey. The stage was set with tables laden with scientific equipment, and a camera setup ensured that every experiment was projected onto a large screen for optimal viewing.
The performance was a dynamic mix of scientific marvels and artistic storytelling. Highlights included the mesmerizing display of dancing flames, created by combining aluminum with a chemical solution, which led to an impromptu ABBA dance party. Multi-colored flames, resulting from burning different elements, not only dazzled the audience but also served as a sobering reminder of the destructive beauty that can result from environmental pollution, echoing the smog-induced sunsets of cities like Athens and Los Angeles in the 1980s.

 

Erin and Marko skillfully narrated the transitions between experiments, even distracting the audience with a dance while the student scientists prepared for the next demonstration. This seamless blend of entertainment and education kept the audience engaged and eager to learn.

 

One of the most powerful moments came when the student scientists demonstrated the dramatic color changes in a solution, symbolizing the visible impact of human actions on the environment. Responding to the vigorous shaking, the solution changed colors from yellow to green to a dark hue that ultimately took on a silver reflective quality reminding us to reflect on what sustainability practices we could put into place to create positive changes.

Throughout the performance, the audience’s reactions ranged from gasps of amazement to enthusiastic applause. And yet, the sound of thunder and flickering lights intermittently reminded everyone of the urgency of addressing climate change.
Keeping the theme of reflection, the production mirrored the pace of science, which can be procedural and quiet just as much as it can be exciting and thrilling. The student scientists, after months of practice under Mr Arsenikos’ guidance, entertained the crowd with explosions, reactions, smoke, and even flames.
The climax of the performance was a visually stunning experiment where the student scientists appeared to set their hands on fire, symbolizing collective action against climate change. This powerful image underscored the importance of teamwork and cooperation in tackling global issues.
In their closing remarks, Erin and Marko left the audience with a resonant message:
“We have the power to change the story – to make the world better instead of worse before it’s too late. We should follow the scientists’ lead, but we should also listen to each other. If we work as a team, we won’t run out of time. The time is NOW. And it’s YOUR story to take into YOUR hands for YOUR planet.”
Shoutout to the amazing Academy students who brought Curious Chemists to life with their dedication all year long, and a big thanks to Mr. Spyros Arsenikos for his commitment to science and our students.

This performance not only educated young minds about climate change but also inspired them to take action, demonstrating the profound impact of blending science with the arts.

A big congratulations to the Curious Chemists Team:

Experimenters:

  • Aree Pibulnakarintr (9)
  • Charlotte Ma (9)
  • Eleni Floraki (10)
  • Fotini Vonatsou (10)
  • Giorgos Tselentis (9)
  • Haoming Lyu (9)
  • Katerina Logan (9)
  • Leonidas Lambrides (9)
  • Melina Andreaki (11)
  • Miqi Zhang (10)
  • Shiyao Zhang (10)
  • Sotiris Minogiannis (9)
  • Venia Vlachaki (10)
  • Yinwenjie Hu (10)

Script Narrators:
Erin Sidereas (10)
MMarkos Mavroleon (10)

Art Direction:
Shaya Ehteshamzad (11)

Genie:
Xinyang Cheng (10)

Team Leader / General Director:
Spyros Arsenikos

Theatrical Lead:
Stefanos Achilleos

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