Liquid nitrogen ice cream, a light that lets you see inside your body and magnetic racecars are just a few of the more than 200 hands-on experiments and interactive presentations available for the young and the young at heart at the 15th annual Little Shop of Physics Open House.
The open house, free and suitable for all ages, runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Main Ballroom of the Lory Student Center on Saturday, Feb. 25.
The Little Shop of Physics is Colorado State University’s hands-on science outreach program that promotes the idea that science is something anyone can do.
This year’s open house theme, "It’s All in Your Head," places special importance on perception and asks the question: Is it
real or is it all in your head?
The idea that science is hard or confusing? "It’s all in your head," said Brian Jones, director of the Little Shop of Physics. "We want to help people discover that science is not that difficult."
Over the past year, the people at the Little Shop of Physics have been hard at work developing dozens of new experiments and making some old classics bigger and better.
New hands-on experiments will let you hear sounds transmitted through the bones in your head, see colors that aren’t really there and safely pass electricity through your body.
The day will also include a steady stream of loud, chaotic and educational interactive presentations including Hamsters in Space that features flying stuffed animals and the Million-Volt Tesla Coil, a device that shoots 3-foot sparks from its top.
All of the experiments are developed and built by Colorado State University undergraduates using the classic Little Shop of Physics approach of taking everyday objects and using them to illustrate scientific principles in an engaging and surprising way. Most of the equipment used to build the experiments comes from garage sales and hardware and discount stores.
Science Activity Kits will be available for purchase at a low price at the open house so participants can take the fun of science home.
The Little Shop of Physics, based in the Department of Physics at Colorado State, has a thriving traveling program in the region. Each year, Jones and a group of undergraduate physics students present the program to some 15,000 students at more than 50 schools in Colorado and neighboring states.
The Little Shop of Physics also presents workshops for teachers from all over the world and produces a television program, "Everyday Science," with Poudre School District Channel 10 in the Fort Collins area.
The Little Shop of Physics is coming off a successful year of outreach as part of the World Year of Physics 2005, an international celebration of physics endorsed by the United Nations. About 50 alumni who have worked on the Little Shop of Physics in past years will be at this year’s open house.
For more information about the Little Shop of Physics, including descriptions of experiments that can be done at home, visit http://littleshop.physics.colostate.edu or call Jones at (970) 491-5131.