Thousands to Gather in Celebration of Science

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To boldly go where no one has gone before, it makes sense that you’ve got to imagine boundless possibilities and explore the unknown. Learning something new every day is also a great idea, and at the annual Physics and Engineering Festival on Saturday, April 6, you can do all of the above! Gather your family and friends and join the Physics and Astronomy Department at Texas A&M for an event that you won’t want to miss.

Since 2003, thousands of people from across the state and nation have attended the festival to learn and take part in hands-on demonstrations and activities. Free and open to anyone aged zero to 99, the festival is just one of the many outreach initiatives of the TAMU Department of Physics and Astronomy that brings science into the community.

There are over 200 exhibits, including interactive demonstrations, programs tailored to every age group and presentations by famous scientists and astronauts. Throughout the day, guests are encouraged to channel their inner scientist, ride a bike with square wheels, run through a pool of cornstarch and shoot balloons with lasers. Some of the special events include NASA’s “Driven to Explore Mobile Exhibit,” a virtual tour of a Large Hadron Collider, Keith Johnson’s Bubble Show, an explosion of color in the sky and more!

The festival will kick off with a special presentation by University of California – San Diego professor Jérémie Palacci on Friday, April 5th at 7:00 p.m. in the Mitchell Physics Lecture Hall. In his fun-filled presentation, “Science in the Brewery,” Dr. Palacci will answer some of life’s most curious questions such as “why Siamese cats have dark noses or you always spill your coffee when walking and what those things have to do with beer.” The kick-off will be an evening that you won’t want to miss!

At the heart of the festival are the students that collaborate to construct hands-on demonstrations so that guests can experience science and technology up-close, and the students are thrilled to present their experiments to the public. During the school year, undergraduate and graduate students from the DEEP (Discover, Explore and Enjoy Physics and Engineering) Program have created exciting new demonstrations with the help of their dedicated professors and mentors.  Graduate student and PhD candidate Dawson Nodurft explains how the festival revitalizes his passion for physics: “When you’re focusing on your studies or your research, you get used to thinking in the world where everybody thinks the same way that you do. Sometimes you lose some of that excitement because everything becomes the same… At the festival you see faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, all working together to present demos that capture some of the exciting things for physics.”

All activities will be located on the Texas A&M campus, in and around the Mitchell Physics and Mitchell Institute Buildings. The festival is sponsored by the Texas A&M University System, The College of Science, the Department of Physics & Astronomy, The George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute, Col. Hal Schade ‘67, Charles R. ‘62 and Judith G. Munnerlyn, Susan Sheskey, Michele Mobley ‘87, Ahmed Mahmoud ‘87, The Willard and Anne Levin Foundation, Purna C. Murthy ‘88, CC Creations, Schlotzky’s College Station, ExxonMobil and Pepsi.

See http://physicsfestival.tamu.edu/ for the festival schedule and map of events.

All photos courtesty of Tim S. Martin.

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