The Science Behind Fireworks

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Dubai downtown and Burj Khalifa on October 11, 2012. (SurangaSL/Shutterstock)

The first evidence of man-made fireworks in North America came during the 1200s—a few centuries after the Chinese, who are generally considered the inventors of gunpowder.

For chemists, this time of year is a moment to celebrate not just the summer season, but all the different ways to release chemical energy fast and furiously.

Dr. John A. Conkling is a Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus at Washington College in Chester Town, Maryland. As the former executive director and technical director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, he weighs in on the science behind fireworks. 

Check out a video about the science of fireworks below.


Dr. John A. Conkling


T.J. Raphael

Comments [2]

Ginnie from florida

Used to be a pyrotechnician - amazing how little has changed other than electronic firing. I still like the rush of flare to match. Great stuff!

Jul. 05 2014 12:33 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

"Blowed up real good," John Candy in a bit on Second City T.V.

Jul. 03 2014 03:37 PM

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