Getting Hands-On In Ann Arbor

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Interactions - SPS Chapters in Action

Getting Hands-On In Ann Arbor

Physics outreach event at Ann Arbor Museum


Grant Renny, SPS President

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

A young girl explores the wonder of static electricity with a Van de Graaff generator.

Physics Palooza is our SPS chapter’s biggest outreach event each year. For two days in April we took over the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and set up physics demos for museum-goers. Our primary audience was elementary school students, but older siblings and parents were also interested. Photos courtesy of the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.

Over the course of the academic year we have been writing letters to sixth-grade students at Cesar Chavez Academy in Detroit to promote physics. We recently organized a trip for them to come visit our campus. They went on tours of physics labs, saw a microscopic biology interactive lab, and attended a planetarium show. At the end we put on a physics demo show that they loved. These activities were supported by a 2013–14 SPS Future Faces of Physics Award. (See to learn more about our project.) Photos by Mary Hemmeter and Steve Bassetteat.

Students from the Cesar Chavez Academy wait patiently as liquid nitrogen is used as a cooling agent in the production of the ice cream they are about to eat.

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Interactions - SPS Chapters in Action