APS DPP 2012: Providence, RI
Four days before the national election, and while the whole country's hairs figuratively stood on end, we were making sure that New England kids' hairs were doing it literally!
With the help of many graduate students, post-docs and scientists, we showed approximately 2500 middle school and high school students from the Rhode Island region that interesting plasma and other physics phenomena are all around us….you just need to know where to look.
One of the highlights was the Van de Graaff generator. It was great at pulling kids in, and not just because of its polarizing charge (zing!). While receiving a quick lesson in electrical charges and currents, kids were mesmerized by the "hair raising" experience and, of course, their newly gained powers of Zeus (sending small arcs to their friends). While some of the lessons might not stick, something else does….physics is cool and not beyond comprehension. Our hope is that this experience serves as a great window display, convincing them to go into the store and see what else science has to offer!