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Liberal Arts and Sciences brings bits and pieces of labs and classrooms to Homecoming Block Party

October 19, 2009

Reptiles, "Lucy," meteorites and "meteorwrongs," physics experiments and Jiu-jitsu demonstrations are among activities planned for this year's Homecoming Block Party by academic units and research centers in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The college is ASU's home for Earth and space exploration, speech and hearing science, and research in the life sciences. That means space-themed hands-on activities, ear plugs and snakes will be at the college's Homecoming site, located in the grassy area between Old Main and the Piper Writers House during the Oct. 31 Block Party.

This year's location is unfenced and members of the ASU community and the public are welcome to interact with Liberal Arts and Sciences students, faculty members, alumni and staff and participate in scores of hands-on family activities.

The college is ASU's hub for English and creative writing, international languages and cultures, and film and media studies. The humanities will celebrate Homecoming with a children's story time, giant crossword puzzle and calligraphy practice, in addition to popcorn and movie trivia questions.

In the social sciences, the college is where students ponder human evolution and social change, delve into the complexities of social and family dynamics, and design geospatial modeling and urban plans. Among activities in the social sciences will be a sustainability guessing game and a computer-based activity to calculate your carbon footprint.

Back in natural sciences, and in keeping with the Halloween theme at this year's Homecoming, the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society from the department of chemistry and biochemistry will serve up a multi-colored (pH dependent) witches brew. This will be complimented by a hands-on demonstration of the science of slime, which will show off both the variety found in toy stores and a different and much slimier one used on many movie sets. The students also will be making "elephant's toothpaste," which is made by the iodide-catalyzed degradation of hydrogen peroxide. To top everything off, they will demonstrate various changes of state with the help of liquid nitrogen.

Also planned, by the psychology department, are activities and assessments tied to health and wellness, including body mass index, blood pressure and a demonstration on how psychology and robots work together for stroke therapy.

Block Party goers can try their hand at math puzzles from the college's new School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences.

And, cadets from the university's Army and Air Force ROTC units will have information about aerospace studies and military science.

Tickets are not required, said Rebecca Albrecht, the college's director of special events.

"There will be lots of activities for children and carnival-type food, including snow cones and cotton candy," she said. "We hope students, faculty and staff from other colleges and schools stop by to check out the many displays and demonstrations."