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

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

The Battalion

The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
The Aggies react after clinching the national championship after Texas A&M’s win against Georgia at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship Game in Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma on Sunday, May 19, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Aggies ace it, Bulldogs face it
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 20, 2024

The No. 13 Texas A&M women's tennis team took on No. 7 Georgia and served up a score of 4-1 to clinch its newest title: NCAA Champions.  The...

Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Scientists look to spark excitement during free Physics & Engineering festival

Photo by Abdurahman Azeez
Professor Tatiana Erukhimova explains the logistics of running the outreach events on Thursday Nov. 16, 2023.

Texas A&M physics and astronomy students and staff are preparing to connect with the public at the upcoming spring Physics & Engineering Festival, returning for its 22nd free annual event in April.

The festival was created in 2003 by physics professor Edward Fry, who invited the world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking to view work at the A&M physics department. Over the years, it has received thousands of attendees and typically features lectures, hundreds of hands-on demonstrations and a science circus.

With 400 volunteers usually taking part, there are many opportunities for students to volunteer at the festival, from setting up and organizing to running demonstrations and engaging with the public.

Physics professor Tatiana Erukhimova, Ph.D.,  helps organize the flagship festival. However, Erukhimova is widely known as “Dr. Tatiana” for hosting exciting physics demonstrations online.

From posting some of her presentations, TAMU Physics & Astronomy has over 2.4 million subscribers on YouTube and 1.5 million followers on TikTok. Both contain 60-second videos of her performing experiments garnering hundreds of millions of views. 

Erukhimova said scientists should share their research with the general public and get involved in outreach. 

“If we rely just on these rockstar physicists who can go on the big stage and give superb presentations, we will lose a lot of talent,” Erukhimova said.

If we rely just on these rockstar physicists who can go on the big stage and give superb presentations, we will lose a lot of talent.”

— Tatiana Erukhimova

Erukhimova said the flagship physics festival underwent significant changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This was a tradition and then the pandemic hit,” Erukhimova said. “We didn’t give up. We switched … We had a very small team who learned basically how to run a TV station during a very short period of time. Our team put together a virtual festival, a very successful virtual festival [where] people around the country joined us.”

Erukhimova said if scientists share talking about their passions, or what excites them most, people will listen. Physics and math senior Kennedi Hatcher is the president of the A&M chapter of the Society of Physics Students, or SPS. Hatcher had Erukhimova as a professor for introductory electricity and magnetism, and Hatcher said Erukhimova’s fun teaching style encouraged her to get into physics.

Hatcher said that Erukhimova teaches classes the same way as she does her shows and outreach, and Hatcher plans to continue her own involvement in outreach and spreading physics to the community.

“I have learned a lot just from explaining the demos and interacting with people,” Hatcher said. “I’ve gained so much with public speaking.”

Physics senior Jacob Bohreer serves as the outreach director of SPS, helping connect the public with the “magic” of physics. 

“I think physics to someone who doesn’t know much about physics, is like the closest thing to magic,” Bohreer said.

Every month, SPS travels to Downtown Bryan to participate in First Friday, bringing activities to demonstrate for the public while passing out flyers to advertise upcoming physics festivals. 

“[We] get people interested and excited for physics, and just have a good time,” Bohreer said.

Erukhimova said there is another program at A&M, the Mitchell Institute Physics Enhancement Program, which “trains the trainer.” The two-week-long program aims to teach fundamental physics concepts through problem-solving, hands-on demonstrations and in-lab experiences.

“We invite the teachers who didn’t have a chance to learn physics when they were students,” Erukhimova said.

Erukhimova said she sees the programs she organizes as beneficial in many different ways, including for students.

“It’s crucially important for our students,” Erukhimova said. “What’s the best way to learn something? To explain it to others. By explaining these physics concepts to the general public and building new demonstrations, our students get invaluable experience. They develop conceptual understanding, build their professional identity, improve their communication skills and learn to work in teams on common projects.”

The A&M Physics and Engineering Festival will be held on Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Cameron Gibson, News Writer
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *