Monday, April 14, 2014

Einstein Week at UNO Begins with a Bang

Einstein Week at the University of New Orleans began with a bang.

As part of Einstein Week, dozens of onlookers showed up on Monday to watch a noontime demonstration in the quad outside the Earl K. Long library that involved liquid nitrogen, a trash can and a lot of ping pong balls. The explosion sent the balls, and the trash can, scattered across the quad. Einstein Week, presented by the Department of Physics and the UNO Physics Club, is an annual event that features experiments, demonstrations and guest speakers relevant to the field of physics.

For three hours on Wednesday, the physics department and physics club held "cool physics demonstrations" that tantalized students, faculty, staff — as well as visiting high schoolers and their parents.

In other fun, physics students demonstrated the power of atmospheric pressure with evacuated Magdeburg hemispheres; made ice cream using liquid nitrogen; demonstrated eddy current effects with a magnet and a copper tube; showed off a Van der Graaf generator, which is capable of producing 100,000 volts and created music with 'singing' corrugated tubes.

Einstein Week is designed to get the UNO community interested in the magic of sciences, said Physics Professor Kevin Stokes, who worked with the University chapter of the Society of Physics Students and other groups last year to get the event started.

The week of science celebration ended with a special guest speaker on Friday. J Ernest "Sunny" Breeding, Jr., a geophysicist at Columbia University and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Breeding presented a talk entitled "Climate Change Demystified: Past, Present and Future."


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