Owl believe it when I see it

Believe it or not, these copper owls started as identical twins before students of John Hutchinson, Rice dean of undergraduates and a professor of chemistry, got their hands on them in a recent class. The one in the beaker at left is sitting in a solution of silver nitrate. The silver ions oxidize metallic copper, creating copper ions that turn the solution blue. In turn, the silver ions are reduced to solid silver that coats the surface of the copper, producing the elegant owls. Kristi Kincaid, a lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, created and presented the demonstration. Two students in the General Chemistry course are shown owl-gazing.

About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.