by Joy Esiemokhai
It was a night of constant “oohs” and “aahs” as hundreds of elementary and middle school students along with their parents and guardians filled University of West Georgia’s Crider Lecture Hall to capacity for a Physics Demo Night on October 25, 2013.
Hosted by UWG professors of physics, Dr. Javier Hasbun and Dr. Benjamin de Mayo, the event was free and open to the public. They performed over 20 experiments showing how various scientific phenomena such as motion, force, electricity and gravity occur using household products such as Coca Cola cans, rubber bands, eggs, hotdogs and marshmallows.
Some of the experiments included lighting liquefied oxygen in a hollow container to create a Mach 1 sonic boom and a demonstration of Newton’s 3rd Law using a toy propeller and a paper sail. Dr. Hasburn also demonstrated how a Jacob’s Ladder, an electrical phenomenon that shows how electrons pass through air to produce a climbing current, works. Using liquid nitrogen, Dr. de Mayo froze eggs and bananas and attempted to use them to hammer a nail into a slab of wood. He also showed the fascinated audience how air pressure works, using liquid nitrogen and hot water to slip an egg in and out of a glass flask with a narrow opening.
Throughout the demonstration, the students were enthusiastic about learning and volunteered for many of the experiments that needed an extra helping hand. The program, sponsored by NASA’s Georgia Space Grant Consortium and the UWG Physics department, was organized with the intent of “sparking an interest in science in young children aged six and above,” according to Dr. de Mayo.
For more information on these and other events, please visit www.westga.edu/cosm/.