Little Shop of Physics Hosts 16th Annual Open House Feb. 24

Two dozen brand new, never-been-seen experiments will be among more than 200 hands-on experiments on display at 16th annual open house hosted by Colorado State University’s Little Shop of Physics from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, in the Lory Student Center ballrooms. The event is free and open to all ages.

New experiments deal with science of the atmosphere and emerged as part of the first-year partnership with the Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes, a new Science and Technology Center housed in Colorado State’s Department of Atmospheric Science.

"Partnering with a research team has really energized us and given us lots of new ideas to explore," said Brian Jones, Little Shop director. "Our ‘It’s Up in the Air’ tour is taking us to more schools than ever before."

Some of the new experiments include: The "Tornado Box," that explores the vortex of a tornado; the "Shake ‘n’ Spark," which shows how electricity is generated in clouds; and the "Tubes of Turbulence" that shows the swirls of turbulent flow in the atmosphere. These new experiments join other Little Shop creations such as the "Million Volt Tesla Coil," "Lightbulb Laser Art" and the "Wave Machine." Special surprises and live presentations include launching stuffed animals through the air with leaf blowers, making ice cream in two minutes and more exciting events.

"We help make things like force, energy, electricity, pressure and heat real so that you can see, feel and experience them," Jones said. "You know that the air pushes in on you, but crushing Nerf balls with air pressure makes it real."

More than 5,000 people are expected to visit the open house, Jones said, making it one of the largest single-day events on Colorado State’s campus.

All experiments were built by undergraduate students at Colorado State. More than 60 undergraduate students will don Little Shop’s trademark tie-dye T-shirts for the day to help visitors explore the experiments.

The heart of the Little Shop of Physics is a traveling program. Each year, it visits about 40 different schools and presents programs to about 15,000 students from kindergarten to 12th grade. In addition to school programs and the open house, the Little Shop of Physics presents teacher workshops and produces a television show in cooperation with the local Poudre School District on Comcast cable channel 10.

For more information about Little Shop of Physics, visit the Web at