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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Bringing physics to life

Attendees gathered outside the Mitchell Physics Institute building last year to admire the five-barrel depth charge.
Photo by Provided

Attendees gathered outside the Mitchell Physics Institute building last year to admire the five-barrel depth charge.

Virtual tours, hands-on science demonstrations and a five-barrel depth charge — these are a few of interactive displays this weekend at the 15th annual Physics and Engineering Festival.

This Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mitchell Physics and Mitchell Institute buildings, the Physics and Engineering Festival returns to A&M, hosted by the Departments of Physics & Astronomy and Aerospace Engineering. Free for the public, physics and engineering students will showcase over 100 demonstrations for all ages to excite the local community about science.

Tatiana Erukhimova, physics and astronomy professor and the event organizer, said the festival is a celebration of science and brings the community together to celebrate science.

“We want people to play with our demonstrations and have fun — it’s a celebration,” Erukhimova said. “We want to bring people who are interested and not interested in physics. All of these great people — faculty and students — volunteer their time to serve [the public] using their knowledge and expertises, and this is priceless. This is a celebration to bring people together.”

The evening prior on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Mitchell Physics Lecture Hall, there will be a first-ever Physics of Cooking demonstration presented by local celebrity chefs Peter Madden and Mitch Siegert who will team up with Harvard professor David Weitz. Together, they will explore the physics involved in everyday life, specifically when cooking.

The newest demonstration added to festival this year is the Galilean Cannon — a stack of balls where the topmost ball is launched in the air when hitting the bottommost ball. There will also be returning displays such as the exploding two-liter bottles filled with liquid nitrogen.

Cameron Rosen, physics and computer engineering senior, will be freezing items and letting others break them into pieces. He said he is looking forward to interacting with the public and answering questions through his demonstration.

“The demo that I am going to do is freezing different items like racquetballs and letting people break them,” Rosen said. “When they see something cool happen they start asking questions, and you get to explain the science behind it. Sometimes when you go to talk to people about science, they aren’t as interested as when there is a hands-on aspect. This approach really brings in the public and that is always fun to see.”

Joe Becker, physics graduate student and a mentor for the DEEP program — discover, explore, enjoy physics and engineering — said the festival is a way for students to give back to the community by giving the public the chance to take part in new and inspiring activities.

“It is a fun way for the physics department to give back to the greater community, everyone from deans to undergrad students who are volunteering their time and sharing their love for physics,” Becker said. “This is a reason why we are devoting our entire lives to physics. Hopefully also allowing people to see some new physics and get excited about it.”

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