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Chemist explains science of fireworks at Tellus
by Monica Burge
July 01, 2013 11:53 AM | 1972 views | 0 0 comments | 61 61 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chemist Bob Gossman, a Tellus Science Museum volunteer, gave a lecture during the museum’s lunch and learn program Wednesday afternoon about the history of fireworks and how they are made.
Chemist Bob Gossman, a Tellus Science Museum volunteer, gave a lecture during the museum’s lunch and learn program Wednesday afternoon about the history of fireworks and how they are made.
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About 2,000 years ago in China, a strip of bamboo was tossed onto a fire and with a “boom” the first firecracker was born.

However it wasn’t until about 1,000 years ago that the modern version of gunpowder — the main ingredient in the fireworks we enjoy today — was invented.

And although it took a few hundred years more after that to perfect, pyrotechnics, from the words “pyro” meaning fire and “technic” the theory of studying an art or process, have been delighting millions since.

“Our technology of fireworks goes back 500 years,” said Bob Gossman, chemist and Tellus Science Museum volunteer.

Gossman, who spoke at a recent lunch and learn at the museum said there is a science as well as art to fireworks, which can be categorized as either incandescent, meaning lit from heat, or luminescent, meaning they burn yellow or gold.

In addition to color, fireworks also can also be designed to different effects Gossman said.

From Roman candle, to fountain and waterfall, each bottle rocket or mortar shell can take the form of several different varieties of “stars” once lit, he said.

“Each one of these are made a specific way,” Gossman said.

Canty Smith, director of education for Tellus said Gossman’s expertise in the area of chemistry made this kid-friendly lunch and learn a great pre-holiday event.

“What a fantastic way to kick off the holiday,” Smith said.

As the nation stops to pay tribute and celebrate one of its most patriotic holidays, take time to enjoy a scientific wonder that will be lighting the night sky.

Fireworks Over Allatoona

Boaters (boat access only) on Allatoona Lake will be treated to this fireworks display by the Allatoona Yacht Club Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.

Information: (770) 565-2212.

Stars, Stripes over Cartersville

WBHF and the Cartersville Optimist Club will once again provide fireworks at dusk at Dellinger Park Thursday, marking an end to a full day of activities, which begin with a parade at 9 a.m.

Information: www.visitcartersvillega.org.

Fireworks Hike

Join the Cartersville Parks & Recreation Department as they host this guided hike on Pine Mountain Trail Thursday for a scenic view of the fireworks display at Dellinger Park. Participants may wish to bring a flashlight. Meet at 8:15 p.m. and depart at 8:30 p.m.

Information: (770)387-5625.
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