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When arts meet science

When Arts meet Science” was an outreach event realized in synergy with University of Catania and National Council of Research (CNR) in July 2016. It consisted mainly in an “Image Competition” and, as a consequence, an “Image Exhibition” realized firstly in the framework of the 6th International Conference on NANOstructures and nanomaterials SElf-Assembly (NanoSEA 2016; http://www.nanosea2016.imm.cnr.it/ ) held in Giardini Naxos (3-8 July 2016). All the conference attendees were invited to submit a computer-assisted or traditional scientific image designed to remind artistic subjects. The best selected 20 images were decorated with poems, poetry and famous sentences coming from the literary world by a proper committee, in order to pursue the aim to mix Science and Arts. In addition, they were displayed in the Exhibit Hall of the conference venue (ATAHOTEL NAXOS BEACH Conference Center) and were also published in the abstracts book. The printing costs were financed by EPS Young Mind grants of the Catania Section. The competition winner was awarded of a prize consisting in a free of charge double as a single room in the conference venue, while the second place winner image was used as cover for the abstracts book. This event gave a great visibility to the EPS Young Mind Catania Section group among all the conference attendees (about 150, coming from all countries of Europe). Some pictures of the exhibition hall are reported below.
The exhibition was then moved inside the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Catania, whose opening was held on the 28th of July 2016 and was followed by a happy hour offered by EPS Young Mind Catania section. All the Physics students and the permanent staff of Professors and Researchers were invited to participate to the event. Although most of the people were already on holiday, the event was attended by more than 50 people, especially students, permitting us to gain their attention and involve them for future activities. In any case, the exhibition was made permanent, thanks to the Department Director consensus, therefore all the students and people passing by the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Catania will always have the possibility of admiring it.
The costs of the events were supported in part by EPS Young Mind and in part by University of Catania. In particular, the grant (500 euro) financed by EPS Young Mind for this activities was spent to cover the printing cost (200 euro), the award (200 euro), and the happy hour joined to the Permanent Exhibition Opening (100 euro).

The Sound of Physics


The YM Valladolid Section released ‘The Sound of Physics’ on September 30th, 2016 for an audience of 300 people. Performed as the main event of the European Researchers Night 2016 at the Science Museum of Valladolid, its aim was the explanation of mechanical waves, particularly sound, and the characteristics of music. The spectacle was performed once more on November 26th, 2016 at the theater of Renedo de Esgueva (Valladolid) for 200 music students. Children and adults could enjoy and learn what a wave is, its mechanisms of propagation, and its physical properties – wavelength, frequency, amplitude, linear superposition… – together with associated physical phenomena, such as Doppler effect. How do different types of musical instruments produce sound? How can the characteristics of the latter be modified? These are only some of the questions that were answered during this activity. The explanations were accompanied by illustrative experiments, as well as short, but well-known, pieces of music, played by YM Valladolid members.

The first part of the show was mainly devoted to the properties of mechanical waves. To picture them, a variety of resources were used, such as ropes, animations and videos. The public could take part in a simulation of propagation of the sound inside different media, where they were the atoms, and their arms represented the interatomic forces. The audience played with a ball with a buzzer inside, perceiving the Doppler effect. They could also hear a sound produced by a whistle of the London Metropolitan Police, formed as the sum of two tones of frequencies too high for the human ear, and thus living the difference between frequency -physical quantity- and tone -subjective perception. The Rubens tube helped with the introduction of the concepts of stationary wave and resonance.

The second part dealt with the physics of the musical instruments. For percussion, wind, string, electronic and electromechanical instruments the following topics were covered: how the sound is generated, how its qualities can be controlled, and why these qualities are modified in that way. The role of resonance chambers was clarified, using as an example the ‘blasters’ sound production in the Star Wars saga by using a metallic spring and a plastic cup (as it was originally done). The public could agitate balloons with an hexagonal nut inside to understand the sound produced by a membrane instrument, and a Chladni plate helped to visualize it. The instruments used and explained included: glass bottles, ocarina, recorder, transverse flute, ukulele, solid metallic bars, violin, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, theremin and Tesla coil. Timbre was introduced by recording in situ the sound emitted by some of them and by explaining the differences among their waveforms and spectra. The show was enlivened by playing short well-known pieces, like ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’, ‘Concerning Hobbits’, ‘Star Wars Cantina’ and ‘We Will Rock You’, counting the latter with the participation of the audience.

After its great acceptance, further repetitions of the show are expected soon.

Light Interferences – Optics in School

dsc_0239As it is usual in the USC Young Minds Section, spreading optics and photonics through the Spanish educational system is a must. Last grant submission we asked for money to make experiments in the faculty instead of going to the schools. Main advantage of the performance of our activity in the faculty is the ease to make the same experiments than in the schools plus additional ones that cannot be done outside a lab.

The grant requested was for making a duality particle wave experiment. The idea was to make or to build a Ripple tank to explain the behaviour of the waves through a double slit. Unfortunately the total budget requested for the performance of this activity was to high to be supported by the funding of the Student Section. A new point of view was needed to make an interference experiment, which was at the beginning our main idea.

The new proposal was to make holograms in collaboration with one of our University labs. This activity has been done two times during the first semester: first with high capability students (17 in total) and a second one with students from 5th grade (which corresponds with students between 10 and 11 years old, 60 students in total). In combination with the old activities that we usually perform (Fiber optics, Interaction matter-radiation, Polarization, Visual Optics) we perform a new one related with Holograms. Therefore students came to our faculty and made 5 experiments separately.
Previous to the performance of the activity we produce a number of holograms to show it to the students so the main part of the budget was used to buy photographic material to print the hologram. No more material was needed because a holographic experiment is done during the physics grade and therefore we made ours only paying for the spare items so the laser, and optical material was in the lab.

After the fabrication of the holograms we show students how to make it and their properties. By simply using a lamp we show the recovery of the holograms and their characteristics. With this new idea we can explain some features of the interferometric behaviour of optical pulses, which is in fact one of the main points of the optics that we have not implemented yet in our Spreading optics activity.

Physics workshop in festival “Playground”

4From July 8-10 the members of the University of Latvia Young Minds Section participated in a sports, music and creativity festival named “Playground”. The festival proved to be quite popular, garnering a turnout of a few thousand people. In the festival, our section operated a workshop in which attendants could take part in various physical demonstrations. The workshop attracted numerous people, young and old, most of whom had little day to day interaction with physics and science in general. Some were interested in the physical background of the experiments, while other were content with just witnessing the show.

Highlights of our demonstrations included:

  • potato cannons and a catapult which people could use to shoot at pre-made targets;
  • bottle rockets which could be launched in the air with pressure created by the release of CO2 from the reaction of baking soda with vinegar;
  • a mixture of corn starch and water, which changes its apparent viscosity depending on the way it is handled;
  • a demonstration with different color dyes that were placed inside glycerol, then slowly, carefully stirred until they seemed to have mixed. The dyes were then unmixed by stirring the liquid backwards;
  • an electronic 1 vs 1 reaction game set up on a breadboard and operated by Raspberry Pi;
  • the creation of dense mist by pouring water onto dry ice.

Science Conspiracy Mythbusters 2016

20160519_175921In the last semester, the Mythbusters, organised by Prague EPS Young minds section, tackled one of the many conspiracy theories surrounding the LHC at CERN. Though the level of falsehood was astonishing, most of the statements presented are easily disproved and are based on complete lack of knowledge of the subject. This time, the Mythbusters have chosen less public, but partially more challenging target.

Gabor Fekete is notorious figure in the physics community. Many of those working in the field have received at least one email from this person – proclaiming most of the modern physics false and introducing new theory of particle mass. Fekete boldly challenges modern discoveries ( e.g. last two Nobel prizes awarded in physics – Higgs Boson and Neutrino oscillation), but as most of conspiracy theories he fails to deliver any evidence and his counter-theory is base of false usage of established theories.

True malice of this persona however does not come from annoying spamming of vast number of physicist, but from false and unlawful impersonation of various prominent figures. He has pretended to be for example Peter Higgs or various members of Nobel committee. Though probably everyone can see through this deceit, it only shows that his claims cannot stand on its own merit and Gabor Fekete has to lower himself to such methods.

The Mythbuster’s presentation focused mainly on debunking the “Fekete theory”, where we tried to accurately present his theory and point out inconsistent usage of physical formulas. Further we disproved the accusations made against modern physics, defending for example Higgs boson discovery, where Fekete claims only one Higgs was observed (which is preposterous only because it was observed separately on two experiments).

The presentation was accompanied by refreshments in form of sandwiches and cakes. The event was attended by approximately 20 people and was well received, followed by conversation between presenters and the audience. It was for example pointed out that people from CERN also tend to get messages from Gabor Fekete.

International Particle Physics Masterclasses 2016

12322889_1584481841872526_413222101859767822_oInternational Masterclasses is an annual event tratitionally held in February or March, which provides a unique opportunity for 15-19-year old students to discover particle physics. A total of approximately 10.000 high school students from 47 countries participate every year, effectively getting insight into topics and methods of basic research at the fundaments of matter and forces. Not only are they given a chance to get out of school without being prosecuted, but they also put their hands on an experiment themselves by performing measurements on real data from particle physics experiments at CERN. Almost 200 universities or research centres are involved in this project.
There are three participating institutes in the Czech Republic – the Institute of Physics at the Silesian University in Opava, the Institute of Particle and Nuclear Physics at the Charles University in Prague and the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering at the Czech Technical University (FNSPE CTU) in Prague.
This year’s International Particle Physics Masterclasses at the FNSPE CTU took place on March 18 2016 at the faculty’s headquarters. The Czech part of the project is being organised in cooperation with the International Paticle Physics Outreach Group, Prague EPS Young Minds section and CERN. The students are given an unique opportunity to become a particle physicist for one day without needing any special knowledge.
In the morning, the students went through a series of instructive lectures given by scientists who actively work at CERN, whereas in the afternoon, an actual data analysis from two LHC experiments – ATLAS and ALICE – was carried out. While analysing the experimental data from ATLAS, the students were given a chance to (re)discover the (divine) Higgs boson. The results were forwarded to CERN. The highlight of the day was a live videoconference with CERN physicist and with other teams from several universities abroad. At the very end, the best team was proclaimed. During the day, organizers prepared lunch, refreshments, beverages and coffe for participating students.

Higgs seminar with movie screening

13082559_1609000956087281_7430535798035548715_nThe public screening of the documentary film called Particle Fever, owned by Prague EPS Young Minds section, connected with the lecture explaining the theoretical background and historical development of the discovery of Higgs particle was held at two venues. Even if the budget was designed only for one event we decided to realize two screening to reach more people at the cost of limited refreshments at the second event. Because of absence of czech subtitles for the film, our team created them so that the film was available for whider audience. The event was promoted on the facebook, twitter, posters and dedicated web site (http://particlefever.youngminds.cz/) created by our section.

The first happening was on March 30, 2016 at Czech Technical University in Prague and the lecture was heded by the prof. Jiri Chyla, CSc. from the Institute of Physics of The Czech Academy of Sciences. The lecture called “Particle Fever” took about a hour. Before the lecture and before the film, a small refreshment containing water, coffee, tea and biscuits was provided. The approximate attendance was 35 people.

The second happening was on April 20, 2016 at Charles University in Prague and the lecture was heded by the doc. Mgr. Alexander Kupco, Ph.D. as well from Institute of Physics of The Czech Academy of Sciences. This event was conducted in tight partnership with the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists and was included in the official program. The approximate attendance was 30 people.

The feedback of the participants was very positive and we hope that this event explained one of the greatest discoveries in particle physics over the last decade to the wider public.

Café Scientifique – Seminars Prior International Conference “Open Readings 2016”

IMG_20160223_200947“Open Readings” conference has always been accompanied by social events which aim to reach not only students and researchers, but a wider audience as well. This year there were 3 additional informal lecturers (“Cafe Scientifique”) prior the conference. They were held in a local pub and attracted a great number of people. Such outreach is essential in attracting wider audience and people from outside of the scientific disciplines. During these events these presentations took place:
• On 23rd of February Prof. Dr. Gintautas Tamulaitis spoke on current issues in material science and latest innovations in light emitting diodes.
• On 1st of March Dr. Mangirdas Malinauskas shared his experience in combining laser technologies and 3D printing.
• On 8th of March Prof. Dr. Daumantas Matulis explained the a hard-path of exploring the potential ways to create drugs.

While expected around 200 participants, outcame was amazing with almost 300 enthuasiasts. The impact of this event was also felt during the conference as number of people outside of the campus have visited the lecturers and sessions.

The conference istelf gathered more than 300 young minds in order to create an ecosystem of learning and sharing the experience. It took place on 15-18th of March in Vilnius, Lithuania connected students from all over Europe working in a variety of thrilling topics: from optics and laser physics to the latest applications in biomedicine. Each day consisted not only of oral and poster session, but lectures and social events as well. Participants had a chance to listen to amazing plenary lectures given by well-known high-level specialists. In case you missed the conference, you can check the lectures in our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLy4mApKrdtBU5ZGjYTCaiOWcafe_wK3ul. During the conference there was also special live broadcast of a lecture given by Senior Astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and a recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for discoveries supporting the big-bang model – prof. John C. Mather! The conference becomes a great tradition and everyone is welcome to start scheduling their next spring for the 60th international conference for students of physics and natural sciences “Open Readings 2017”, which will take place on 14-17th of March, 2017 in Vilnius, Lithuania! And probably some Cafe Scientifuque event prior as well!

Physics for Everyone

img_20160416_145008The main goal of the project was to raise public awareness to the everyday influence of physics in our life. Physics themed presentations were held in the whole country organised by the Hungarian EPS member ELFT, and we took our part in the project by organising the main flagship event at the Eötvös University. This was an open and free event for any curious persons, but our main focus was on families, teenagers and younger children. There were three 60 minute long easily understandable and entertaining scientific lectures. The lectures were presented by renewed scientists and students alike, with topics from the most novel and interesting research areas. During the whole afternoon and evening (for seven hours) there were four thematic demonstration stands with over a 100 different experiments (the four themes were: thermodynamics, electromagnetism, mechanics and fluid dynamics). The participants were also able to try out most of the non-dangerous experiments themselves. There were at least two presenters at each table, who were mostly physics students, and there will were additional organisers who have shown modern physics simulations and optical experiments at the lecture hall to small sized groups.There there was also an hourly rocket and explosion experiment in the open, and one of our guests lifted a car with PET bottles. We and the ELFT are happy to have organised this event a second time, and we hope to grow this national event to an international celebration for physics in the following years.

Videos and photos are available at: https://goo.gl/photos/Bh2VS11byUbBUZDp8

Physics Express

12977164_1063944126998939_7464643876718535501_oThis year on April 17th PONYS organized the fourth edition of “Passione Fisica” (“Physical Passion”, roughly translated) at Città della Scienza, the biggest science museum of southern Italy: an entire day dedicated to physics popularization through demonstrations and simple experiments. Supported by EPS and OSA and involving more than 100 volunteers among physics students of University of Naples “Federico II”, the event was targeted at both children and adults and designed as a journey through different fields of physics entitled “Physics Express”. Ranging from Electromagnetism and Optics to Thermodynamics and Particle Physics, most of the experiments were made of everyday materials, in order to both stimulate the audience with familiar stuff and to make those experiments easily reproducible and interactive. In particular, great importance was given to the hands-on aspect of the event, and in this perspective we proposed a new physics-based construction lab, where children were involved from the very beginning in the construction of simple toys based on physical principles. Such principles could be thus understood in a very practical, funny and powerful way, and eventually children could obviously keep the toy they built as a souvenir of the day. “Passione Fisica” was also the occasion to spread among the large public the award-winning documentaries of the European Science TV and New Media Awards 2015, which were showed in a hall for the whole duration of the event, and to celebrate the OSA Centennial with a dedicated desk.
Alongside our activities, Città della Scienza organized during the day other demonstrations and talks in partnership with local associations and research centers, which presented some of the hottest topics of their work. According to the museum ticket-selling office, more than 800 people joined us for the event.