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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Physics Night excites youths

    Physics doctoral student Vincent Lonij experiments with liquid nitrogen at the Physics Phun Night on Friday. Lonij created a smoke pillar as the nitrogen evaporated and shot up through a tube.
    Physics doctoral student Vincent Lonij experiments with liquid nitrogen at the Physics Phun Night on Friday. Lonij created a smoke pillar as the nitrogen evaporated and shot up through a tube.

    Children gasped, screamed and laughed as they watched physics graduate students and professors shoot a teddy bear with a potato gun, use a fire extinguisher to travel around the room and lie atop a bed of nails Friday night during the 24th annual Physics Phun Night.

    Held in the Physics and Atmospheric Sciences building, the event was sponsored by the physics department and was geared toward children and families, said physics lab coordinator Larry Hoffman.

    “”Some school teachers in the area even offer extra credit if the kids come,”” Hoffman said. “”We like to let the community know what we’re doing, and I like to see the reaction of the crowd.””

    Sixth grader Briana Chavez came to the event with her parents after seeing it advertised on the news.

    “”I came because I really like physics,”” Chavez said. “”Science is my favorite subject in school.””

    She said she most enjoyed experiments involving liquid nitrogen and sound waves.

    The event, which Hoffman organized, featured volunteer professors and graduate students doing interesting experiments or demonstrations that also taught physics principles.

    “”A good demo is one that is easily visible,”” Hoffman said.

    The event also featured engineering physics senior Brent Morgan solving Rubik’s cubes. Morgan finished in the top 20 of the semifinals of this year’s World Rubik’s Cube Championship in Hungary, and cubes were given away during various raffle drawings.

    “”I would definitely come back next year,”” Chavez said. “”And I would tell my friends to come, too.””

    Graduate student Will Holmgren volunteered to demonstrate at
    the event.

    “”It’s fun to show physics to the public, because it doesn’t always get enough credit,”” Holmgren said. “”The audience was great and really engaged.””

    Holmgren said he enjoyed being involved and would help out again next year.

    “”It’s good for the community in general,”” he said. “”The hope would be to actually inspire someone in the audience to pursue physics.””

    About 300 people attended Friday, and 200 people attended Wednesday, Holmgren said.

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