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Juniata Students Demonstrate Physics Principles on Stage

(Posted April 2, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Natural laws of motion, gravity and other physical properties will be entertainingly demonstrated during Physics Phun Night at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 10 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.
One of the principles demonstrated during Physics Phun Night is the distribution of force over a wide area. The students will vividly demonstrate this phenomenon by shattering a cement block with a sledgehammerâ??which is balanced on the chest of Xinli (pronounced "Zinlee") Wang, associate professor of philosophy, who will be lying on a bed of nails. James Borgardt, associate professor of physics and sponsor of the SPS club, will deliver the sledgehammer blow.
Other demonstrations will include:
Freezing Everyday Objects: Students will freeze all types of household objects, including balloons, using liquid nitrogen.
Burning Bubbles: Students will ignite bubbles filled with hydrogen gas.
Fireproof Paper: The audience will learn how to treat paper to resist flame.
Jet Propulsion: The demonstration uses fire extinguishers to demonstrate how propulsion works.
Light Show: Marty Balaban, a Juniata senior studying physics, will debut his self-designed laser light show.
"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.