Annual Family Physics Night 2017 set for tonight
Posted on 11/2/2017 9:01:00 AM.
(Seguin) -- TLU's annual Family Physics Night will no doubt be full of energy. The Texas Lutheran Physics Department and Society of Physics Students are again gearing up for a night full of interactive physics demonstrations to celebrate the Physics of Energy.
Dr. Toni Sauncy, chair of TLU's Department of Physics, says tonight's event is designed with the entire family in mind.
"We have this evening where we set up our student activity center which is sort of a big empty barn and we transform it in one day into what we think is like a pop up science museum. And by museum, I mean a hands on activity center where students of all ages and their families can participate in some really exciting physics demonstrations that will educate them about lots of things. This year, our theme is the Physics of Energy. So we think that people are very interested about how we use energy and how we make energy and how physics can help us understand all of those things. So that sort of becomes the tradition that we have -- lots of hands on fun things for people to engage and think about topics which they might not otherwise think that they're able to think about because it's physics," said Dr. Sauncy.
Dr. Sauncy says this year, six interactive stations will be featured at the Jackson Park Student Activity Center.
"For example, one of our stations is about thermal energy, the energy of heat transfer and so at that station, students and their families will be able to make some slime. This slime is special because it has a molecule compound in it that is sensitive to changes in temperature so when it gets warm, it changes color. When it gets cold, it changes to a different color. Another one of our stations is the energy of batteries, how do we make batteries to provide the energy that we need for all of our digital electronic devices. So students will participate in building simple batteries and understanding how those batteries provide energy to make lights light up. Another station this year is a really exciting station about conservation of energy where we will be hanging a very long -- about a 20 foot pendulum made out of a bowling ball and we will be daring people to stand and let that bowling ball go in front of their face and trust physics that the bowling ball will not hit them in the face when it comes back," said Dr. Sauncy.
Before taking part in the demonstrations, the community is also invited to sit in on a presentation by special Guest Speaker Dr. Francis Slakey, associate director of public affairs at APS (American Physical Society). Dr. Sauncy says Dr. Slakey has a long list of notable accomplishments such as becoming the 28th American to summit Mt. Everest in "an unguided expedition that was the subject of the movie 'Beyond the Summit.'" In addition to his adventures, he also carried the Olympic torch from the steps of the U.S. Capitol during the 2002 Olympic Games.
"We also have at 5 p.m. -- the TLU Society of Physics students Public Lecture in Physics and this year, we are really excited about our speaker because he's not only a Ph. D. physicist but he's also sort of an extreme athlete and I think the only human being to have summited the highest peak on every continent and surfed every ocean and he's quite an inspiration about how he learned that his most important work would be on behalf of others. So we look for that to be a really really good talk," said Dr. Sauncy.
Dr. Slakey will speak from 5 to 6 p.m. today at Jackson Auditorium. Family Physics Night activities will follow at 6:30 p.m. at the Jackson Park Student Activity Center located across from Bulldog Stadium. The event is free.
Texas Lutheran University

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