Steph Izegbu Bolster and Teigan Lane

Book: A is for Arsenic

Exhibit: Video

Featured Work

Written Work


The Team: Steph Izegbu Bolster and Teigan Lane


I chose to do this exhibit because I have always thought the concept of poisons and toxins were interesting. The fact that something so deadly can be found in nature or can even be manufactured is such a crazy idea to me – Even some of these toxins and poisons that were intended for good purposes or nonlethal purposes. It really teaches you that you never know what is going on the inside and that looks can be deceiving. This is very clearly a topic that ties in so well with chemistry as all these poisons and toxins have a chemical structure or composition that has specific properties that cause them to have the effect they do on people and other living animals. I believe it is vital for educational purposes for as many people as possible to made aware of any toxins should any unfortunate persons encounter these; they will be able to quickly identify these toxins and avoid harm’s way. Projects and exhibits like this are really what fascinate me the most about chemistry and how it can all tie in together. The work divulges the molecular makeup, structures and properties that make these poisons so unique.



The reading of “A is for Arsenic” by Kathyrn Harkup heavily influenced this exhibit. Upon reading the book many facts were found and examples and theories were also given. As someone who enjoys murder mysteries, I was more than happy to engross myself in a book based on the poisons Agatha Christie. This book was remarkably interesting and discusses Christie’s use of the various poisons as murder weapons in her books and short stories. The book took two approaches – the first where it would focus on Christie’s use of the poison and the second where it would probe into the history and other facts. This is what drew me to the book as I was able to get just exactly what we needed for the project while still remembering that the second focus of the book was in fact Agatha Christie and her uses of the poisons. After all a lot of the poisons in the book are known to people today due to Christie’s influence and how she used them in her worldfamous novels. 


I believe poisons are to be the deadliest toxins known to humans, some more fatal than others. An interesting part of this exhibit was understanding where these chemicals originated and how they are produced and used in everyday life, unseen by the common human eye. I find it fascinating that these toxins can come from nature’s most precious creations, from plants and flowers, which can then be used in such harmful ways. Personally, I was inspired to showcase the harmful effects of common toxic chemicals to other people outside of my course. This motivated me to write this exhibit to educate the public or anyone interested enough to view it.

I enjoyed working as a group as it was enjoyable to work with someone who has a similar interest in the science behind poisonous substances. While reading the poisons of Agatha Christie a particular section dedicated to Cleopatra the Egyptian Queen. When Cleopatra decided to end her own life she decided to experiment with poisons on her slaves and analysed the results of each in order to select the right poison which would cause her the least pain and leave an attractive corpse. One of these poisons tested was called arsenic which was shown to be a very unpleasant way to die.