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'Fabulous Fluids' Topic for Nov. 16 USU Physics Demo Show

Monday, Nov. 12, 2012

illustration for USU Physics Demo Show

In a NASA-FAA wake vortex study, air flow from a plane's wing is made visible with colored smoke. Air flow is among concepts featured at USU Physics’ fifth annual November Demo Show Friday, Nov. 16. Admission is free and all ages are welcome.

What makes an airplane fly? What keeps a heavy battleship afloat? How do you tell the difference between a hydrogen balloon and a helium balloon?

Inquiring minds of all ages are invited to learn the answer to these questions and more at Utah State University Department of Physics’ fifth annual November Demonstration Show on campus Friday, Nov. 16.

This year’s theme is “Fabulous Fluids.” The gathering begins at 7 p.m. in the Emert Auditorium, Room 130, of the Eccles Science Learning Center. Admission is free and open to all ages.

“It’s time again to kick off Thanksgiving week with our popular annual tradition,” says James Coburn, Teaching Laboratory supervisor and demonstration specialist in USU’s Department of Physics. “This year, our featured topic is fluid dynamics.”

In physics, Coburn says, “fluids” refer to liquids and gasses.

“We’ll talk about such concepts as buoyancy, surface tension, levitation and what makes things float or sink,” he says. “We’ll use atmospheric pressure to crush a 55-gallon barrel, fire smoke rings out of a giant vortex cannon, launch a ping pong ball seven different ways and create a ‘flame tornado.’ It will be a lot of fun.”

Physics? Fun?

“Absolutely,” Coburn says. “Unfortunately, many are intimidated by physics study. But it shouldn’t be that way — learning about science is something everyone can enjoy.”

For directions and parking information, visit the Physics Demonstration Show web page.

Related links:

USU Physics Department

USU College of Science

Contact:  James Coburn, 435-797-3014,

Writer:  Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517,

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