Ames Public Library summer science presentation well-received

Ivy Christianson

She blinded me with science.

Well, not she, he. Ames Public Library hosted Splish Splash Science, a science-themed presentation by Jim Birkel, the Iowa Science Guy of Mad Science. The presentation was July 27 in Farwell T. Brown Auditorium at the library. The show had two sessions, one for third through sixth graders and families, and another session for families of all ages.

Jerri Heid, youth services specialist for the library, said the library has booked Birkel, who works out of Des Moines, before and has had significant success. She said he’s very children-friendly and informative, not always an easy task because not all scientists are good with crowds.

In previous years, Birkel has done experiments that involve blowing things up. This year, there was a little more focus on the water aspect because the library’s summer reading program theme is Making a Splash at Ames Public Library.

“He did experiments with water and bases and acids and lots of dry ice,” Heid said.

He also blew up rockets that squirted water at the audience.

Heid said the kids were very disappointed when he announced his final experiment and were sad to see the show end. 

More than 90 children attended the first show of the day, and more were expected for the second.

“Science is always fun to watch,” Heid said. “It’s not magic, but it’s close to it, so it’s very interesting to see the way things happen. Magic is an illusion, where science is actual things that are happening. Sometimes science can be magical too.”

Heid encouraged children to come to the library because the summer reading program runs until Aug. 31, so there is plenty of time to get involved.