BU Turns Pennies into Golden Opportunity

March 11, 2013

BRANDON, MB – The Chemistry department at Brandon University (BU) has solved a problem that has plagued scientists, sorcerers and scoundrels for more than 5,000 years. Now, BU needs your help – specifically, your pennies.

“We turn pennies into silver, then gold,” says Dr. Mark Berry, professor and chair of BU’s Chemistry department, “just like the alchemists of old. But our supply of pennies is running out because the government has stopped production.”

Students Perform Alchemy at BU

Each year, hundreds of school children marvel as BU Chemistry profs electroplate pennies with zinc, then apply heat, turning the copper silver and finally gold. “Kids touring the University find this demonstration spectacular,” says Dr. Berry.

In the past, BU’s Science department has purchased pennies to use but is now asking for donations as the Canadian government is removing the coin from circulation.

“Use that loose change to kindle a child’s interest in the sciences,” says Dr. Berry. ”We appreciate any and all donations of pennies.”

Coins can be dropped off at the Dean’s Office in the Brodie Building, Rm 172.

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, creation and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.



For more information, please contact:


Dr. Mark Berry
Chair, Science Faculty
Glen Kirby,
Communications Officer