Past KTU Programs - Kids' Tech University (KTU) at Ohio
Dr. Joe ReczekMarch 08, 2014
Why do those liquid crystals help operate my TV? | Denison

An interactive session led by Dr. Joe Reczek

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Denison University

This KTU event will be held at Denison.

Why are TV and smart phone screens made of something called ‘liquid crystals’, and what does that mean?!

‘Materials’ is a general word to describe what all the stuff around us is made of.  For decades, certain chemists called ‘materials scientists’ have been inventing new types of materials to make our TVs flatter, our phones smaller and brighter, our cars safer, our computers faster, and thousands of other great things that we take for granted every day.  Many materials in technology are made of something called ‘liquid crystals’.  As their name may imply, liquid crystals are sometimes like solids, and sometimes like liquids!  These amazing materials have allowed for many great inventions, including flat-screen TVs and the small screens on phones and portable game systems!  We will learn what liquid crystals are and why they are so important in our lives, and see how current research may lead to a TV that you can roll up and take with you like a poster!  Then, we will move to the chemistry lab, where we will work with some real liquid crystals, and see first hand why they are so cool!

Dr. Joe Reczek is an organic chemist, and assistant professor of Chemistry at Denison University.  His research is focused on making new types of liquid crystal materials for low-cost displays and solar cells.  He believes in the power of science to offer amazing and creative solutions to many giant challenges, such as disease, energy-costs, famine, and slow computers.  He is a proud supporter of The Works Museum and their efforts to educate and inspire children and their families in Licking and surrounding communities.

Laboratory Experience- students will be divided into 5 groups by age for an interactive science lab experience based on the topic of the day. Research scientists and college student volunteers will be leading the experience.