by igniting a vaporous mixture - grocery- shelf hairspray that contains propane. To drive home the power of the reaction, he splices in clips from Star VVc!rs) making it seem as if Thorp Thorp, Rebel Alliance pilot, takes the shot, via the potato gun, that downs the Empire's Death Star. In the other episode, Thorp takes off on a journey, from the campus all the way to the Food Lion in Carrboro, in search of a pickle into which he then inserts an exten- sion cord, plugs it in and explains that the now-glowing pickle is illuminated thus because of the atomic transition ofsodium in the pickle - a simple demonstration of the complex theory of electronic transitions for atomic orbitals. The theatrical tricks seem to work."Holden has an uncanny ability to resonate with students," said Joe DeSimone, Kenan chemistry professor. "Perhaps because he speaks their language and has their demeanor at times, but nonetheless, it is effective." Miriam Heinrichs Zietlow, a fellow grad student at Cal Tech and now a technology manager at the Lord Corp., characterizes Thorp as a quick thinker who "is able to discuss a wide variety of topics in an intelli-
gent fashion. And he can have this discus-
sion at a very intellectual level or on a lay-
man level. I think it is this ability to com-
municate that is one of his scientific
it is effective.'
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