Friday, December 17, 2010

Faraday Lectures

Christmas 1826, physicist Michael Faraday offered free physics lectures to the children of London.  He felt that making science fun would be a gift to children.  Rutgers University physics professors Mark Croft and David Maiullo feel the same way, so every December for the last thirteen years, they have offered physics lectures for children ages 5-110.

This was our first year attending these fantastic lectures.  But we plan to make it an annual tradition.

We began our evening at Stuff Yer Face, a fine New Brunswick establishment and one that I spent a lot of time at 'back in the day'.  Stuff Yer Face has a blend of college food ('bolis, nachos) and an amazing beer library (not a selection, but a library).  Jason and I are into trying different beer.  Currently we are really into Belgian ales and/or the craft brewery Ommegang.  So, Stuff Yer Face pleased all of our appetites.

The girls enjoyed potachos (nachos made with hand cut kettle fried potato chips, cheese, bacon, sour cream --we got the spicy meat on the side) and 'bolis.

My girls have  a thing for oddly shaped chips.

We shared a pilsner after dinner and these glasses were the perfect size for sharing a beer--I am in love!
 I NEED to find these and buy some!

Sweet cinnamon tortilla filled with bananas and cheesecake, topped with chocolate and real whipped cream - YUM!

A little trivia: Mario Batali, a fellow Rutgers alum, got his culinary start at Stuff Yer Face.
After dinner we made our way over to the Busch Campus for the lectures.  

They gave us these cool glasses.
Then they pointed out the ROYGBIVs you see when you put them on.
(I LOVE calling them ROYGBIVs--hopefully it will help the kids remember the color order!)
Then they lit hydrogen and pointed out the changes in the ROYGBIVs.
They lit helium and pointed out the changes.
We SAW the difference in energy!

Students demonstrated density in the hallway outside the lecture hall.
The 10 lb. bowling ball floats because it's density is less than water, the 12 lb. ball sinks because it's density is greater than that of water.

Dr. Croft was very funny.
He propelled himself across the room with a fire extinguisher.

Singing Bowl
We saw a beaker, filled with water on the screen under infrared light.
When they rubbed the top of it (as you do with a crystal glass of water and make it sing) we could see the sides of it flex.
Then it broke.

This where we saw sound.
Yes, we saw sound waves.

See the difference in the flames, that is because of the different sound waves.  As they changed the pitch it went from 4 to 6 to 8 humps.  How cool is that?

Exploding helium balloon.

Poor Prof. Croft had to lay on a bed of nails.
16 lbs of pressure will puncture the skin.
The nails need to be distributed so that there is less than 16 lbs. of pressure.

When we got home, after a lot of instruction about safety, Jason allowed the girls to play with his laser pointers.