Posted by: Carl Blesch | April 28, 2012

Popular physics lecture dazzles, entertains guests

Every winter holiday season, the Department of Physics and Astronomy presents its Faraday Children’s Christmas Lecture, a show featuring exploding hydrogen balloons, frozen flowers that shatter when struck with a hammer, and a professor who rockets himself on a cart propelled by a fire extinguisher and takes a nap on a bed of nails.

Physics demonstrator Ashley Gandham shows five-year-old guest Lucas Mattingly how a magnet can float over a plate of copper bathed in freezing-cold liquid nitrogen.

The department reprises its popular holiday show at 2:30 p.m. on Rutgers Day, in the Physics Lecture Hall. Get there early if you want a good seat!

Before the show, undergraduate science students give visitors a preview of several demonstrations. A steel rod that sings when rubbed and a magnet that hovers over a frozen copper plate are two exhibits that tantalize visitors to stay for the show and see more.

“These demonstrations are the same ones we use in undergraduate physics courses to teach students the principles of physics in a way they find interesting and memorable,” said David Maiullo, physics demonstrator at Rutgers who puts on the show with physics professor Mark Croft.


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