Laura Melohn

Detroit Local Section Science Cafes

Blog Post created by Laura Melohn on Sep 22, 2010

Brewing Chemistry.jpg


Brewing Chemistry” is the chosen name of the monthly lecture series. Each month, general public and ACS members are invited to this Science Café type event. The lectures are held at the Traffic Jam & Snug in Detroit. Unless otherwise noted below, attendees enjoy a Dutch-treat dinner while the speaker talks. The speaker usually arrives one hour before the talk begins, so they can enjoy dinner as well. And attendace ranges from 20-65 people.  The speaker’s dinner are paid for throughout the year with funds from the ACS Science Café Mini-Grant and the Detroit Local Section. The talks run anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours, but people usually stay and visit afterwards. Brewing Chemistry logo beaker mugs have been made to give as gifts to the speakers for their time.


A sampling of the events appears below.


January 20, 2009 – Brewing Chemistry - Chemistry of Wine and Regional Wine Tasting

The Detroit Section Monthly Program division co-sponsored this event. Laila Kott, Ph.D., Senior Analytical Chemist, Ash Stevens, Inc. and Steven Brook, Vintner and Sommelier were the guest speakers. Approximately 40 people attended the event and the crowd was composed of chemists and non-chemists alike. Attendees paid $10 to help cover the cost of catered food and wine for entertaining lecture. The chemistry of making and analyzing wine was described by Dr. Kotts, followed by an extensive sampling hosted by Steven Brook. The event was advertised in two local papers, the website, and email distribution list.


May 19, 2009 – Brewing Chemistry - Neurochemistry

This talk provided a unique experience for an undergraduate research student to present his work with his advisor. Dr. Mary Lou Caspers from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of Detroit Mercy started the talk with providing a background lesson in neurochemistry and how the sodium pumps works in nerve cell functioning. Then her student Kevin T. Onofrey took over and explained his current research of western blot analysis. This event was a well-received because it made advanced topics in neurochemistry easy to comprehend for the general public.


July 21, 2009 – Brewing Chemistry – What’s That Made of?

Dr. Mark Benvenuto of University of Detroit Mercy gave this entertaining lecture on X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Spectroscopy and its use for analyzing coins. This talk was a combination of history, archaeology, and analytical techniques. He revealed methods of determining a coin’s composition and how it relates to their monetary and collectible values.


September 15, 2009 – Brewing Chemistry – The Science of Halloween

The Motor City Haunt Club is a local group of Halloween enthusiasts. 4 of their members, Paul Jameson, Robert Beech, Jeff Squires, and Jeff Londos were recruited to take turns speaking. A fifth speaker, Dr. Matt Mio, from the University  of Detroit Mercy and the Haunt Club was also a speaker. These five speakers gave ten – fifteen talks each on pneumatics, sculpture, lighting, animatronics, and chemistry. They revealed just how much science goes into Halloween props and decorating. 65 people attended this event and the room was at full-capacity. Food was pre-ordered and catering was provided to guests for a donation fee.


Thank you to the Detroit Local Section for providing the summary of the events.