The Department of Physics and Astronomy at The Johns Hopkins University is hosting its 4th Annual Physics Fair from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, coinciding with the annual Spring Fair celebration on the Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore. Events will take place in the Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy, located on the north end of the campus near Homewood Field.
Free and open to the public, the fair will feature both individual and team competitions for local students, as well as a physics-themed scavenger hunt and demonstrations by Johns Hopkins physicists, graduate students and undergraduates. The idea is to bring physics to the community in a fun, accessible way. Highlights of the event particularly suited to photographers and camera crews include:
Professor Extraordinaire Show, 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. JHU Professor Peter Armitage and his assistants will give a demonstration show based on the legacy of Henry Rowland, Johns Hopkins's first physics professor. The show will include fantastic optical displays, explosions, loud noises and bright lights. Prof. Armitage's demonstrations promise to be spectacular, startling and often hair- raising!
Elementary-Middle School Science Bowl, 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Teams of up to four elementary school-age students (grades 5th through 8th) will compete to answer a variety of general science-related questions in a quiz show format. This activity will be held in Bloomberg's Schafler Auditorium, which is equipped with a system allowing contestants to press buttons to select their answers, with the results being displayed in real time. Winning teams receive trophies for their schools.
Physics Challenge, 12:30 p.m. An individual competition for Elementary/Middle School students (8th grade and below) and High School students (grades 9-12) with significant gift certificates (up to $100) to book stores as prizes! For high schoolers, the questions in this 30-minute-long multiple-choice written test are similar to the SAT, and can be used to prepare for it. The Elementary/Middle school challenge is aimed at 5-8 graders and will cover general science rather than strictly physics. The problems are quantitative (so bring a calculator), but also require common sense. The top three scorers from K-12 schools will win in each contest.
High School Physics Bowl, 3:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Teams of up to four high school students compete in a contest similar to the above, except with questions focusing on physics. Winning teams receive trophies for their schools.
Hopkins Construction Project Contest, 1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Individual participants and teams of up to four people of all ages will have 30 minutes to build the tallest possible structure using materials provided on-site. Towers must be able to stand on their own for 1 minute. Participants will sign up the day of the event.
Weather-permitting, the Maryland Space Grant Consortium Observatory, located on the roof of the Bloomberg Center, will be available for public tours. Visitors also are invited to tour several research laboratories, and to enjoy some refreshing liquid nitrogen ice cream.
For a short video of the highlights of last year's Physics Fair, go here: www.pha.jhu.edu/~fair/.
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