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Open House for High School Students


High school students and teachers who are interested in physics are invited to School of Physics and Astronomy Open House. You will learn more about educational opportunities in physics and astronomy at the University of Minnesota, tour labs with cutting-edge research experiments, discover career opportunities in physics, see a great show by the Physics Force: The Next Generation, and hear from Professor James Kakalios, the author of the book "Physics of Superheroes: The Spectacular Second Edition."

Date: Thursday, January 28, 2010
Time: 6–8:15 p.m.
Tours: Tours will start at 6:15 p.m.
Program: The event program will start at 7 p.m.
Place: 150 Tate Laboratory of Physics

Physics Force Show and the Physics of Superheroes
Capping off the Open House is an entertaining performance by the Physics Force who combine slapstick humor with physics concepts for a fun and educational show. In addition, Professor James Kakalios, whose Emmy-award-winning YouTube video on the "Science of Watchmen" has received more than 1.5 million views, will talk about physics concepts and how they can be even more interesting to students when put in the context of superheroes.

Lab Tours

  • Biophysics—Noireaux Lab tour: Explore the interface between physics and biology in this lab that studies the fundamental structure of genetic expression.
  • NOvA Research and Development—Cronin-Hennessey Lab tour: Neutrinos are in the news and this lab is at the forefront of the effort to build the NOvA detector in Northern Minnesota.
  • Liquid Crystals—Huang Lab tour: Chances are you are reading this email through a liquid crystal display. Come and find out about the physics of this fascinating phenomenon.
  • Observational Cosmology—Hanany's Lab tour: These physicists are attempting to understand the physics of the big bang. What happened at or very near the origin of time? What physical mechanisms controlled the expansion of the Universe at these high energies? To address these questions the group is building balloon borne telescopes that observe the cosmic microwave background radiation. This radiation, which is an echo of the big bang, provides the earliest image of the Universe. The balloon-borne payloads are launched from various locations around the globe and are flown at the edge of Earth's atmosphere.
  • Methods of Experimental Physics—Student Lab: See where physics students come to learn the nuts and bolts of experimental physics.
  • Spin Electronics—Crowell Lab tour: Wonder how computers get faster, smaller and more robust all the time? Physics is quite often the answer. Spin electronics is a growing field that has applications in consumer electronics.

Admissions Information Session
Learn how students can apply to the University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology (soon to be called the College of Science and Engineering) and increase their chances of being accepted.

Research Opportunities in Physics
Learn about the many research opportunities for students. Physics is one of the Top 10 paying careers in the United States. Physics offers opportunities in a variety of industries as well as academic research. Our students learn to be physicists and astronomers in an exciting hands-on environment that frequently includes international travel, even for undergraduate physics and astronomy majors.

  • Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. Some of our undergraduates spent last summer working as part of a huge experimental collaboration in CERN, in Geneva Switzerland.
  • EBEX balloon research in New Mexico
  • Astronomy research at an observatory in Hawaii.

If your school is planning on bringing a bus or van to the event, you can park the corner of 6th Street and 23rd Avenue S.E, in front of the Ski U Mah lot. Map:

Register by Tuesday, Jan. 26 by contacting Julie Murphy at [|jjmurphy at] or 612-625-6928. Please indicate the tour (choose only one per person) that most interests you when you register. If you are registering for more than one person, please indicate how many people will be going on each tour.

More information at