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Phinding Phabulous Science at Physics Phun Night

(Posted April 11, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Lying on a bed of nails doesn't guarantee a good night's sleep, but it does entertainingly demonstrate physics principles during Physics Phun Night at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 13 in Alumni Hall in the Brumbaugh Academic Center on the Juniata campus.


Physics Phun Night, sponsored by the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and the physics department, is free and open to the public. Glow sticks will be sold during the event for $2.

James Borgardt, associate professor of physics and sponsor of the SPS club, says James Tuten, assistant provost and assistant professor of history, will lie on a bed of nails to demonstrate how force is distributed over a wide area. "I hope my students won't refer to me as the perforated professor," Tuten says.

Other demonstrations will include:

A Bowling Ball Pendulum: A brave volunteer will hold to their nose a bowling ball suspended from the ceiling. When the volunteer releases the ball, will it swing back into the volunteer's nose?

Glowing Pickle: Pickles are filled with electrolytes, which glow when the pickle is connected to two electrical wires.

Fun with Liquid Nitrogen: Students will freeze flowers, hamer a nail with a frozen banana and make balloons shrink.

"Using props like the bed of nails makes teaching the principles of a fairly complex science both memorable and fun," Borgardt says. "Once you see how physics applies to someone lying on nails, it helps us understand science much more clearly."



Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.