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The Chemistry of Fireworks

“Ahhhh, Strontium!”Pyrotechnics expert John Conking ‘65, an adjunct professor of chemistry, offered a talk on the Chemistry of Fireworks Saturday afternoon. Professor Conkling explained the chemical compounds and methods used to produce the various colors and special effects of fireworks displays.Conkling and Chris Mocella ‘01, a chemist with US Customs & Border Protection, collaborated on the second edition of Conkling’s book, The Chemistry of Fireworks, published in January 2011. The lecture was part of the College’s celebration of the 2011 International Year of Chemistry.