Where Thrills Meet Physics
SPS National hosts activities with Mid-Atlantic chapters at Six Flags America
By Kendra Rand
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The East Central University SPS Chapter  

SPS volunteers from Rowan University suit up to measure acceleration on Six Flag’s Flying Carousel (photo by Lydia Quijada).

On Friday, April 24th, thousands of high school students descended on Six Flags America in Bowie, MD for a day of gut-wrenching, free-falling, thrilling rides--and SPS was there to greet them!

Each April, local schools are invited to bring their physics students to Six Flags on a Friday when the park is not open to regular visitors, for a chance to experience gravity, centripetal force, and magnetic induction in a scale they can't replicate in the lab. The SPS National Office has been involved with the local Physics Day for many years, but stepped up their presence this year by bringing nearly 25 volunteers from colleges and universities in the Mid-Atlantic area--some driving more than three hours each way to participate.

In conjunction with APS and AAPT, SPS engaged students with demos, accelerometers enclosed in vests that students could take on the rides, a presentation by Galileo himself, and rolling experiments that involved ramps, salt, canned corn, a car tire, and more.  To learn more about amusement park physics, visit


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Photos by Lydia Quijada
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