Local school students explore the science of color

  • Photographs: Karen King

What color were dinosaurs? How do we make ink? Why do leaves change color? Over 100 local students braved bad weekend weather November 3rd to find out the answer to these and other questions in this year’s West Campus Pathways to Science Festival.

The young scientists donned their protective lab gear alongside scientists from many of the West Campus Institutes to learn all about colors and dyes, getting super messy with hands-on activities to discover how ancient artworks were created, solve mysteries, study living things, and more. Students explored the transparency of blue pigments with infrared (night-vision) baby monitors and webcams, writing secret messages under blue paints containing ultramarine, cobalt, phthalo and Prussian blue pigments.

The event illustrated the wide range of scientific activities that occur on West Campus. “With the help of more than thirty volunteers from across the campus, we showed students that they can use the same scientific principles to study chemicals, dinosaurs, and art. Science isn’t just one kind of career - it’s a way to answer numerous questions,” said David Hiller, Associate Research Scientist in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and a member of the Strobel Lab on West Campus.

The middle and high school students were joined by families of West Campus scholars and staff to tour West Campus, including the labs of the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage.

With an overarching goal to encourage and support promising young scholars to pursue careers in the sciences, Yale Pathways to Science opens the door for middle and high school students to explore science at Yale University. For more information about the program, visit: https://onhsa.yale.edu/pathways-science