Science, Religion Mix in Free Speech Area

Story By: Frank Lopez, Rampage Reporter

Fresno City College’s Science and Engineering Club conducted a scientific presentation in the Free Speech area last Friday.
The scientific demonstration began at 11:00 a.m. and proceeded until noon. Dozens of chairs were set up for students in the classes of the presenting professors and for anyone wishing to view the event as well.
Meanwhile, Rod Savala, a man that comes on campus to talk to students about God, preached from the other side of the Free Speech area. While most of the attention was focused on the Science Club’s presentation, Savala’s voice could be heard in the background.
FCC physics professor, David Balogh and chemistry professor, Christian Valendi hosted the presentation and conducted the experiments. Both instructors spoke to the onlookers while performing their experiments. Though they both told jokes about what they were doing, both Balogh and Valendi contended that it is the members of the science club that are running the show.
“They run the show; we just do the experiments,” says Balogh. Valendi agreed, “I just show up, blow stuff up, and then leave.”
“We are out here today because all of us love science,” said Alex Nazaroff, president of the Science Club.  “We are trying not only to explode things,” he said, “but raise a general awareness of what science is and what it’s not to the general population.”
Regardless, the crowd of around 20 people grew to 60 after the duo blew up a large balloon filled with hydrogen.
Balogh and Valendi also demonstrated the use of the Van de Graff generator, a mechanical device that produces static electricity and high voltage electric currents. Balogh touched the generator to show how the static electricity would travel through his body and make his hair stand on end.
The professors also caused small controlled explosions with combustive powders as they produced molten iron by setting rust and aluminum grounds on fire.
Later, they froze fruit, vegetables, flowers, and tennis balls using liquid nitrogen and smashed them afterwards.
The team warned the audience to cover their ears as they once again caused a giant balloon filled with hydrogen to explode. In anticipation of the loud boom, the string attached to the balloon burned up and released it into the air. While this was not an intentional part of the show, it provided laughs for the audience.
Before the show ended, members of the audience once again shouted to see a large balloon filled with hydrogen explode. Their hopes were answered as the show closed with an exploding balloon that produced a boom that was felt by the audience.
Meanwhile, Savala said the college allows him to preach on campus at the end of each month.  He says that he would like to continue to come to the campus and the surrounding colleges on a regular basis over the next years to come.
“I had gone through the office and they gave me permission to come out Monday through Friday in this area,” he said. “I don’t know if they just scheduled both of us, or if they were interfering with me or if I was interfering with them.”
Savala says that he believes that the science community is right on as the natural world is all part of God’s creation.