Young students gather in a chemistry lab at Brandon University to watch professors turn pennies into sliver, then gold during a tour of the campus.
The chemistry department at Brandon University has solved a problem that has plagued scientists, sorcerers and scoundrels for more than 5,000 years. Now, BU needs your help — specifically, your pennies.
"We turn pennies into silver, then gold," said Mark Berry, chemistry professor and chair of BU’s science faculty, "just like the alchemists of old. But our supply of pennies is running out because the government has stopped production."
Each year, hundreds of school children marvel as BU chemistry profs electroplate pennies with zinc, then apply heat, turning the copper silver and finally gold.
"Kids touring the university find this demonstration spectacular," Berry said.
In the past, BU’s science department has purchased pennies to use but is now asking for donations as the Canadian government is removing the coin from circulation.
"Use that loose change to kindle a child’s interest in the sciences," Berry said. "We appreciate any and all donations of pennies."
Coins can be dropped off at the dean’s office, Room 172 of the Brodie Building at the university.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 12, 2013