program. The SOS series is aimed at bringing “cutting-edge” science
topics to middle and high school students. Each of the talks are
presented by a leading LLNL science researchers supported by a master
high school science teacher.
Gash may be familiar to some people because he also starred in a shorter video
on aerogel for the KQED/Discovery Channel’s Quest Lab series. Gash is a
materials chemist in the advanced Materials Synthesis Group at LLNL
where he focuses on low-density porous materials for possible optical
and energy storage applications.
Reese is a high school physics and biology teacher at Tracy High School.
If you want to skip the intros, you can directly go to around the
5:00 mark. Gash does a nice job of briefly explaining career
opportunities in chemistry and then jumps right in to explaining
sol-gels, and actually demonstrating some of the initial steps of making
aerogel. Gash and Reese also walk the audience through the concepts of
density, mass and volume; heat transfer; optical properties; and
emerging commercial and space-based aerogel products. They even get into
the use of aerogel in art.
(There are several SOS lecture videos available online, and LLNL/SOS
provides DVDs and slides of lectures to teachers, in some cases free of