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. 

    Best Bubble Recipes

    Kids, how often have you felt like blowing bubbles but couldn’t find a bottle of them around the house?  And are you tired of bubbles that pop as soon as you blow them?  A soap bubble consists of a thin layer of water trapped between two layers of soap molecules.  The tricks to longer-lasting, hardier bubbles are to add stability and to slow down evaporation. Here you will learn about secret ingredients that impart these properties.  All bubble solutions use a surfactant (soap), of course.  Soap is a simple, safe, inexpensive, and easy-to-find chemical.  One secret ingredient has these properties too, which is glucose or sucrose, simple sugars.  Sugar adds some stability to the bubbles.  Another commonly used ingredient is glycerin.  The glycerin acts like a thin layer of oil around the bubble’s surface, and slows down evaporation. 

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

    Compare these bubble recipes to see which work best for you, and then ask yourselves why.  Simply stir these ingredients together in large containers. 

    • Basic Bubble recipe: 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons of liquid dish detergent (Joy or Dawn are good choices).
    • Deluxe Bubble recipe: 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons liquid dish detergent, and 2 tablespoons sugar.
    • Crazy Deluxe Bubble recipe: 1 cup warm water, 2 tablespoons liquid dish detergent, 1 tablespoon glycerin, and 1 teaspoon sugar.
    • Hardiest Bubble recipe: 3 cups of water, 1 cup of dish detergent, and ½ cup white (or light) corn syrup. This recipe makes large batches, so invite your friends and get ready to make some observations of your experiments!

    Light corn syrup is glucose, and sugar is sucrose.  Both are simple sugars.  But compare how they perform in your bubble sizes and lifetimes to see if there are differences.


    • The bubble solutions made with any kind of sugar or syrup are sticky. They will clean up with warm water, but it's best to blow bubbles outdoors or in a bathroom or kitchen so you won't have to un-stick your carpet or upholstery. The bubbles wash out of clothing.
    • If you don’t have a wand handy, you can fashion one from a pipe cleaner.  Close off a small circle and leave yourself a handle. 

    Glycerin can be found in the cake decorating area of most craft stores.


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    June 2013



    See ChemShorts November 1995 on the Science of Soap Bubbles for more info.

    Marybeth Hamilton at

    Anne Marie Helmenstine at Chemistry: