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Susan Brown
IU Physics

Hal Evans
IU Physics

Last modified: Monday, October 13, 2008

Dozens of hands-on exhibits at this year's Physics and Astronomy Open House

Oct. 13, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Crackling sparks, dazzling colors, spinning merry-go-rounds and perplexing sounds will entertain and educate visitors to the 2008 Physics and Astronomy Open House on Saturday, Oct. 18.

The free event will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. in Swain Hall West (727 E. 3rd St.) on the IU Bloomington campus. The Open House features exhibits similar to those found in San Francisco's cavernous Exploratorium, and in previous years has attracted anywhere from 800 to 2,500 attendees from across the state.

Van de Graaf generator

Photo by: IU Bloomington Department of Physics

Past visitors to Physics and Astronomy Open Houses have learned about complex things like electrostatic interactions -- and had fun doing it

Print-Quality Photo

"The Open House emphasizes hands-on experimentation and scientific theory," said Susan Brown, an organizer of the event. "IU professors and their students will be available to contribute to visitors' understanding of the experiments they are doing."

In addition to experiments that teach basic principles of light, sound and motion, there are also exhibits that get into more complex realms of physics and astronomy, like quantum mechanics and gravity. Returning this year is the popular "Ninja Physics" Lecture-Demonstration Show. New exhibits and demonstrations are also planned.

Short talks will occur at scheduled times during the event. Astronomer Stu Mufson will talk about our solar system using more familiar distance measures. Physicist Hal Evans will discuss IU's participation in CERN's Large Hadron Collider project.

Guided tours of the IU Cyclotron Facility will also be available. Space is limited. Only those who arrive on the shuttle buses from Swain Hall (departing at 10:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m) will be allowed on the tours. Only those over 8 years old can be accommodated. A special time slot, starting at 1:45 p.m., is available for tour groups with their own transportation. To attend a tour of the IUCF, please contact Moya Wright ( for more information.

Open House attendees will also have the chance to tour the Department of Astronomy's Kirkwood Observatory and Solar Telescope every half hour starting at 10 a.m. Check out huge images of the sun -- spots and all.

Official Open House Web site:

For general information about the Open House, please contact Susan Brown at 812-855-1246 or, or Hal Evans at 812-856-3828 or