Outreach and Education Division

    The EDUCATION AND OUTREACH DIVISION supports chemistry education at all levels, including K-12, college, and adult/continuing education. It maintains liaisons to the Chicago Public Schools and the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT). The Division engages the general public in chemistry-related educational activities, participates in ACS activities at the annual Illinois State Fair, and publicizes all events and news-related content. The division oversees the annual Project SEED program for the Section as well as the Project SEED scholarships. The Division also assists public officials and other community bodies concerning chemistry-related matters. The Education and Outreach Division includes the Education, Outreach, Project SEED, and Public Affairs Committees.

    The EDUCATION COMMITTEE provides chemistry-related educational programs and information to learners of all ages and actively engages with educators at the pre-K-12 and college levels. Subcommittees include:

    • AACT Liaison
    • College Education Subcommittee
    • Continuing Education Subcommittee
    • Chicago School Board Liaison
    • K - 12 Education Subcommittee


    The PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ensures that section members and public officials and bodies are informed of matters where the knowledge and practice of chemistry is of substantial public importance. These matters can include government issues, environmental issues and the social responsibility of chemists. The Public Affairs Committee gives the Public Affairs Award biennially.

    The OUTREACH COMMITTEE engages the general public, educators and children in chemistry-related educational activities and participates in many different types of events around the greater Chicago area.   Subcommittees include:

    • Community Activities Subcommittee
    • Illinois State Fair Subcommittee


    PROJECT SEED COMMITTEE identifies interested low-income and/or minority high school junior and senior students who are interested in participating in a paid summer research experience with  a college or university faculty member.  It supports financial and logistical concerns for the student/ faculty relationships and communicating  relevant program information to the national ACS organization.  The committee is also responsible for distributing Project SEED awards to support the internships. 

    Rochelle Salt – Part II

    Kids, you can make a large single crystal of Rochelle salt and with that make your own piezocrystal-based circuit.  You made your own Rochelle salt granules in the July 2012 ChemShorts edition.  Piezoelectric crystals make very accurate and stable electronic vibrations. Clocks, radios and computers depend on them for precise timing.  The crystal works with other timing elements to produce a stable frequency. Crystals come in a variety of fixed frequencies, from 32,768 to billions of cycles per second. 

    Please note:  All chemicals and experiments can entail an element of risk, and no experiments should be performed without proper adult supervision.

    results in easily grown single crystals. Take the 80 grams or so of granular Rochelle salt that you made earlier this summer and mix it with 100 milliliters of very hot water.

    Filter the solution through a coffee filter, paper towel or filter paper to remove any undissolved material. Allow the solution to sit undisturbed. Small crystals will begin to grow on their own eventually, or you can pour a small amount of solution onto a plate to produce a seed crystal, which may be introduced into a larger volume of solution to grow a large single crystal.

    This will yield amateur piezoelectric crystals. This process is easy and is in fact a simplified replica of how professional piezocrystals are manufactured under carefully controlled conditions, with greater temperatures and ingredients of much greater purity. 

    TIPS:  The recipe can be scaled up to create more solution and larger crystals. 


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    September 2012



    A video on making Rochelle salts:

    and testing the crystal:

    This author takes apart a digital watch and uses the piezoelectric crystal near the back of the watch that makes the audible sound for the wrist alarm:
    and in video:
    They use a small LED to see the output from the crystal. You might try the same with your crystal.

    Anne Marie Helmenstine at Chemistry