Liquid nitrogen ice cream social brings freezing delights to UNF

Angie Villada

Photo by Angie Villada.

The National Society of Women in Science hosted the “Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Social,” an event where ice cream brought everyone together. Josh Melko, professor of chemistry demonstrated to students how to make nitrogen ice cream.

All the students gathered around the table to closely watch the experiment that made ice cream in minutes.  

Melko explained how ice cream consists of cream, milk, sugar, and flavor (vanilla, chocolate, etc.).

“Nitrogen is usually in the gas state, but you can squeeze nitrogen down and cool it down until it’s liquid, and this nitrogen in a liquid phase exists at 77 kelvin which is something like -200 celsius,” said Melko. “We are just using [the nitrogen] as the cooling mechanism.”

Photo by Angie Villada.

Once all the ingredients were together, the cooling mechanism took the heat away from the cream, milk and sugar.

Two students volunteered to participate in the stirring part of the process. Stirring or mixing the ingredients ensured uniform mixing of the liquid nitrogen with the all the ingredients. It was like magic. Ice cream appeared.

It was an edible experiment. Students enjoyed all the cool features of the experiment. The container with liquid nitrogen caused clouds of smoke around the table. This feature made the ice cream appear savory.

Manija Sidiqi, president of the NSWS and a senior in biology, said the event is mainly for  students to socialize and see a cool science experiment.

“We chose ice cream because that’s what gets people to come and socialize,” said Sidiqi. “My favorite part of the event is that students that don’t have classes with each other are able to meet new people.”

The club is organized by five female students. Sidiqi said women are underrepresented in Science, therefore they wanted to be able to have a voice in the school campus.


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