Bringing Back the Fun
Bringing Back the Fun
Shalauni Patel, SPS Chapter Co-President, Adelphi University
“That was so cool!” says almost every student after a thrilling physics experiment. I think I speak for all when I say that students get tired of doing grueling calculation after calculation, and at that point, physics becomes more of a task than a passion. However, when we do even a small fun experiment, our passion for physics usually returns.
Physics is part of our everyday life even when we aren’t paying attention. But it’s extremely energizing (no pun intended) to see calculations and equations come to life. In an attempt to catch sight of these everyday physics encounters, students in the Adelphi physics department have been doing a lot more experiments and hands-on activities lately, primarily just for fun.
It’s become sort of a tradition within our chapter to hold an annual egg drop. In teams of two and with a limited amount of time and materials, we build small contraptions to keep raw eggs safe. Then we test our devices by dropping them from various heights. Sounds pretty impossible right? Wrong. One of the devices kept an egg safe during a 30-foot drop! Crazy! Imagine what we could do with additional supplies and more time! The possibilities are endless.
We also do a Lab4Kids outreach event every year, which has been one of my favorite experiences so far. This is an opportunity to share our love and appreciation for physics with local high school students and encourage them to consider physics as a career option. We do many fun experiments and activities, such as play with an angular momentum wheel, build small DC motors, experiment with optical colors, demonstrate holograms, and much more. Students are also able to tour our physics labs to learn what we do outside of lectures.
It’s very refreshing to take a break from quantum calculations to share some exciting physics with the younger folks or test out physics for ourselves. Experiences like these really bring out the physics from textbooks in a fun way. After all, physics is about having fun! And doing some equations...