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Juniata Physics Students Hammer Home Entertaining Science Demonstrations

(Posted March 31, 2014)

James A. Troha, president of Juniata

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- James A. Troha, president of Juniata College, has vowed to participate in many Juniata traditions, but he may be rethinking his role at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 9, in Alumni Hall in the Brumbaugh Academic Center, when he has to balance a cement block on his chest while lying on a bed of nails as part of a demonstration of scientific principles at Physics Phun Night.

The event is free and open to the public.

Physics Phun Night's highlight has always been the demonstration showing how the distribution of force over a wide area can lessen the effects of the force. President Troha will demonstrate this principle by allowing James Borgardt, professor of physics, to break the cement block, mentioned above, with a sledgehammer as Troha lies on a bed of nails.

Sponsorship of Physics Phun Night, sponsored by the Society of Physics Students, combines entertainment and education for fellow Juniata students and community members.

Other demonstrations will include:

Fiery Methane Bubbles: Students will ignite bubbles filled with methane in a spectacular display.

Liquid Nitrogen: Demonstrators will use liquid nitrogen to instantly freeze a number of substances.

Air Cannon: Physics students use scientific principles to shoot table tennis balls out of a tube.

The Bernoulli Effect & Fun with Toilet Paper: Using household items to demonstrate pressure and flow.

In all, the students will demonstrate about eight concepts in an entertaining and informative presentation.
The Juniata chapter has more than 20 active members for the 2013-2014 academic year. The student leaders for Juniata's SPS chapter are as follows: David Milligan, a senior from Eighty Four, Pa., is president; Robert Draham, a senior from Port Republic, Md., is vice president; Alex Debrecht, a senior from Winston-Salem, N.C., is treasurer; and Bradley Spayd, a sophomore from Altoona, Pa., is secretary.

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