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*  Purdue Department of Physics

February 19, 2006

Physics on the Road takes energy into Indiana classrooms

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - With vapor rings firing across classrooms and balls soaked in liquid nitrogen shattering against walls, Purdue University's College of Science is capturing students' attention in schools throughout Indiana.

Purdue's Physics on the Road program demonstrates scientific principles in fun and exciting ways. Roger Boyce, assistant outreach coordinator for the Department of Physics, has scheduled more than a dozen shows throughout Indiana for 2007. More than 300,000 students have seen the presentations since the program was launched in 1990.

"Physics on the Road provides an entertaining yet educational demonstration of how matter and energy work together," Boyce said. "With hands-on activities mixed in, students begin to understand how science is connected to every aspect of their daily lives."

Boyce said another benefit of the program is a heightened interest in science as a future field of study.

"The show goes a long way to dispel the perception of scientists as 'geeks' or 'nerds' by allowing kids to see a real person, whom they perceive to be 'cool,' enjoying what he or she is doing," Boyce said. "Teachers have told me that students have been inspired by the show to take a greater interest in their science courses."

Scheduled Physics on the Road presentations, which are generally not open to the public if sponsored by schools, include:

*  Friday, March 8 - Hobart Middle School, Hobart

*  April 3-5 - F.H. Hammond School, Munster

*  April 10 - Center Grove Middle School, Indianapolis

*  April 19 - Elliott Elementary School, Munster

*  May 4 - Jennings County Middle School, North Vernon

*  May 16-17 - Indiana Beach, Monticello

*  May 23 - Indiana Beach, Monticello

*  Sept. 14 - Frankfort Middle School, Frankfort

Julie Conlon, Department of Physics outreach coordinator, said the Physics on the Road program has been so successful that the College of Science has expanded its outreach efforts.

"We're also visiting individual classrooms with our Cryogenic Temperature Show, which demonstrates states of matter and phase changes," Conlon said. "Other school districts have established partnerships with us for teacher training. Even Purdue physics students are getting involved by working with high school teachers on building and introducing cosmic ray detectors into the classroom." 

Writer: Marydell Forbes, (765) 496-7704,

Sources: Roger Boyce, (765) 496-2213,

Julie Conlon, (765) 494-0740,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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