RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota School of Mines & Technology professor is leading captivating demonstrations with pyrotechnics to encourage young students to pursue degrees in science and engineering.

Chemistry professor Justin Meyer is trying to impress upon visiting middle and high school students that science can be fun. His 45-minute science show uses mild pyrotechnics, including acid-infused cotton balls and small party balloons filled with hydrogen.

It was part of Engineering and Science Day held at the Mines campus Thursday, the Rapid City Journal reported.

"If we can excite even five or six of these students to go into the science fields that weren't thinking about it before, that's a huge gain for us and for society," Meyer said.

He said science classes aren't all unpredictable demonstrations and pyrotechnics.

"We do find science classes can be kind of boring, with just covering concepts and so forth," Meyer said. "Mixing it up with stuff like this and purely showing demos is a way (of saying), 'Eventually, we'll get to this,'" he said.

Jade Herman helped organize the event and serves as special projects coordinator for Mines President James Rankin's office. She said attending Engineering and Science Day is what inspired her to seek an undergraduate degree from the college. Now, she enjoys working with young visiting students.

"My favorite part of the job has always been interacting with the students," she said. "Seeing the middle school kids coming and learning, hopefully that sparks their interest and they'll come here too."


Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com