Colorado State University Little Shop of Physics to Host 20th Annual Open House Feb. 26

Want to make electricity flow through your body or explore the world beyond the rainbow? These are just a few of the more than 250 hands-on experiments and interactive presentations available at Colorado State University’s Department of Physics 20th annual Little Shop of Physics Open House on Saturday, Feb. 26.

The open house, which is free and open to audiences of all ages, will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Lory Student Center on the Fort Collins campus. The Lory Student Center is near the intersection of Laurel Street and Meridian Avenue.

The Little Shop of Physics offers a traveling hands-on science outreach program that started at Colorado State in 1991. The student group, which serves as a resource tool for K-12 teachers in Colorado and in the region, finds creative ways to share the wonder of science with others and presents unique hands-on science experiments to a diverse range of students.

This year’s event is titled “It’s About Time.” More than 6,000 visitors attended last year’s event, and more than 100 volunteers from the CSU and Fort Collins communities will be on hand to help.

“This is our 20th such event, and it promises to be a special one,” said Brian Jones, Colorado State University physics instructor and director of Little Shop of Physics, which he created. “This year, kids can see a dramatic aftereffect illusion on the brand new ‘Photographic Memory’ experiment, in which they can use a camera flash to record an image on their retinas for a short time.”

The open house will also feature seven interactive presentations. The crowd pleaser “Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream” will return, showing guests how to make homemade ice cream in less than two minutes. Other presentations include “Matter in Motion” and “The Million Volt Tesla Coil.”

For a third year, scientists with CSU’s Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes in the Department of Atmospheric Science will assist with the program. Participants will have the opportunity to make “snow” with a polymer and movies with a high-speed camera.

Each year, the Little Shop of Physics visits about 40 schools and presents a unique program of interactive hands-on science to nearly 20,000 K-12 students. The Little Shop of Physics team includes two professional staff members in addition to Jones, student interns, and dozens of volunteers.

To date, Little Shop of Physics has reached more than 250,000 students through its in-class experiments and more than 250,000 students online.