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Juniata Physics Students Demonstrate Science Principles at Physics Phun Night

(Posted April 12, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata science students will experiment as entertainers during demonstrations of astounding pheats of physical science during Physics Phun Night at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 15, 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.

One of the most popular demonstrations during Physics Phun Night is the annual demonstration illustrating the distribution of force over a wide area. Kathy Jones, assistant professor of education, will volunteer to illustrate this phenomenon by lying on a bed of nails during the entire demonstration while balancing a cement block. James Borgardt, associate professor of physics, will then smash the block with a sledgehammer.

Other demonstrations will include:

Imploding Barrel: A team of students will use atmospheric pressure to "violently implode" two 55-gallon drums.

Pencil Gun: A student will use a fire extinguisher to drive a pencil through a thick sheet of plywood.

Ping Pong Ball Cannon: This demo shows the strength associated with a vacuum.

Phone Book Tug of War: By interweaving the pages of two phone books, friction prevents the books from being pulled apart.


The students also will illustrate freezing principles by using liquid nitrogen in a series of crowd-pleasing demonstrations, and also fill bubbles with methane gas.

"Using props like the bed of nails or trying to pull two phone books apart makes teaching the principles of a fairly complex science both memorable and fun," Borgardt says.

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