A ghostly undertaking at the public library

  Ashley Hunter
ECB Publishing, Inc.

Kids in costume crowded around a table in the community room at the Jefferson County R.J. Bailar Public Library on Saturday, Oct. 5, while "mad scientist" Terez Washington (who is, for the rest of the year, an assistant librarian at the public library) created an eerie concoction.
Using a bit of modern science, Washington awed his young audience when he created "ghost bubbles."
While the sturdy bubbles settled easily in the children's gloved hands, as soon as the orbs popped, they disappeared in a mysterious ghostly fog.
While the bubbles might have looked like something a mad scientist would create, they were actually a simple experiment that anyone could create in their own homes.
Using tap water, a chunk of dry ice and some standard dish soap, Washington and other library volunteers were able to make bubbles that were sturdy enough to be held in the children's hands, but so airy-light that they 'smoked' when popped.
Dry ice, which is created from frozen carbon dioxide, is commonly used to preserve food and package items that must remain cold or frozen without mechanical cooling, such as when shipping food through the mail.
While the substance is practically harmless, it is very cold and should never be handled with bare hands. It creates a smoky, frothy fog when placed in water and makes the water appear to 'boil'.
The 'smoke' seen in the experiment conducted at the library on Saturday, Oct. 5 is actually carbon dioxide gas – as the dry ice breaks down, the frozen carbon dioxide turns into a gaseous form, rather than liquid.
Washington's experiment captured his young audience's attention thanks to its mysterious and spooky appearance. But while holding the bubbles in their gloved hands, the young library visitors (dressed as superheroes, bugs and mythical creatures) were actually participating in a scientific experiment and learning more about the chemical composition of our world.