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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 9:20 EDT

Rohm and Haas Helps Kids “Have a Ball With Chemistry”

October 23, 2008

Some would consider Rohm and Haas scientist Mario Mirabelli an expert on molecules, not baseball. Thousands of children across the country, however, know better thanks to Rohm and Haas’s celebration of National Chemistry Week (Oct. 19-25).

Using old sports equipment provided by the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, Mirabelli demonstrated the incredible impact of science on sports safety and performance for nearly 500 schoolchildren, helping them “Have a Ball With Chemistry,” the theme for National Chemistry Week. At Masterman School in Philadelphia, Mirabelli also previewed a set of educational videos Rohm and Haas produced with The Franklin Institute and honored fifth-grader Valentino Papa of Philadelphia, one of the winners of the Rohm and Haas “Having a Ball With Chemistry” National Poster Contest.

Papa said prior to National Chemistry Week, he wasn’t aware of science’s prominent role in sports.

“I’m beginning to wonder what more might there be,” said Papa, who won a $400 bike for his winning entry, which focused on his love of soccer. “It makes sports more interesting because now you can think of all the things you didn’t know before.”

Mirabelli also demonstrated the science behind sports for a group of pre-K students at Children’s Village in Philadelphia.

“Understanding what goes on behind the scenes will enrich children’s concept of chemistry so that they will now look at a ball or bat in a different way,” said Eileen Flannery, Children’s Village School Age Coordinator.

Kids everywhere have a ball playing sports. Few, however, are aware that every kick of a soccer ball or swing of a bat is a science experiment. The videos produced by Rohm and Haas and The Franklin Institute explain how science impacts a variety of sports, like bicycling, snowboarding, hockey, and basketball.

The combination of physics, chemistry and materials science enable participants’ abilities to be that much better, and they make the sporting experience safer. Take snowboarding for example: To reduce weight and stiffness, board makers layer sophisticated materials around a smaller wooden core to make a “science sandwich” held together with acrylic epoxy adhesives, themselves the product of chemistry research.

These two-minute videos are available at go.rohmhaas.com/havingaball and are a fun, educational tool designed for schoolchildren through middle school, teachers, and parents alike.

PHOTO Links:

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L-R, Barbara DelDuke, Rohm and Haas, Marjorie Neff, JR Masterman Middle School Principal, Mimi Zuzga, teacher, and Mario Mirabelli, Rohm and Haas scientist congratulate fifth-grader, Valentino Papa, one of the winners of the Rohm and Haas “Having a Ball With Chemistry” National Poster Contest. About 400 JR Masterman Middle School students look on in the background during a specially held assembly hosted by Rohm and Haas company during National Chemistry Week.

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L-R, Mario Mirabelli, Rohm and Haas scientist compliments Stephen Grunwald, JR Masterman Middle School Health and Physical Ed. teacher dressed in classic sports protective gear used in earlier demonstration to students to show how chemistry has helped athletic gear do a better job of protecting athletes.

About National Chemistry Week

National Chemistry Week is a community based program of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The annual event, in its 21st year, unites ACS local sections, businesses, schools, and individuals in communicating the importance of chemistry to our quality of life. The mission of National Chemistry Week is to reach the public, particularly elementary school children, with positive messages about chemistry.

Thousands of volunteers from local ACS sections across the country conduct hands-on science activities in their communities, with a focus on elementary and secondary school children. Chemists, chemical engineers, teachers, and students volunteer their time, energy, and expertise to present chemistry demonstrations, and also put together contests for children, conduct workshops, visit classrooms, and host open houses. These programs and activities have been held in venues as diverse as science museums, shopping malls, hospitals, libraries, classrooms, and chemical companies. For more information, visit www.acs.org.

About Rohm and Haas Company

Leading the way since 1909, Rohm and Haas is a global pioneer in the creation and development of innovative technologies and solutions for the specialty materials industry. The company’s technologies are found in a wide range of industries including: Building and Construction, Electronics and Electronic Devices, Household Goods and Personal Care, Packaging and Paper, Transportation, Pharmaceutical and Medical, Water, Food and Food Related, and Industrial Process. Innovative Rohm and Haas technologies and solutions help to improve life every day, around the world. Based in Philadelphia, Pa., the company generated annual sales of approximately $8.9 billion in 2007. Visit www.rohmhaas.com for more information. imagine the possibilities(TM)

About The Franklin Institute

Founded in honor of America’s first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. It is dedicated to creating a passion for science by offering new and exciting access to science and technology in ways that would dazzle and delight its namesake. For more information, please visit www.fi.edu .