College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Physics Department Offers Ghoulish Fun

Spooky Physics Night provides frights and excitement with a side of science

OCTOBER 23, 2017 BY EDWIN B. SMITH

An Oxford Elementary School student lies on a bed of nails as a volunteer places a weight on her while other Spooky Physics Night participants observe. Photo by Nathan Latin/Ole Miss Communications

An Oxford Elementary School student lies on a bed of nails as a volunteer places a weight on her while other Spooky Physics Night participants observe. Photo by Nathan Latin/UM Communications

Frights, food and fun are the order of the evening when the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy presents Spooky Physics Night on Friday (Oct. 27) in Lewis Hall.

The program, which runs 7-9 p.m., includes a stage show at 7:45 p.m. Hands-on activities through the evening include freezing objects in liquid nitrogen (at minus 320 degrees), generating sound waves with Bunsen burners and tubes, and levitating magnets with superconductors. Other fun presentations include optical illusions with mirrors, a Van de Graaff generator, a bed of nails and other contraptions.

Physics department personnel also will prepare ice cream with liquid nitrogen and award prizes for the most original, scariest and cutest costumes to children 12 and under. It’s all in the name of making learning about science fun and exciting, said Marco Cavaglia, professor of physics and coordinator of the evening’s activities.

“We at the Department of Physics and Astronomy really look forward to this event,” Cavaglia said. “As in the past years, there will be shows and a lot of hands-on science demonstrations with a Halloween twist to experience weird physics phenomena, from electricity to heat and pressure to the ultracold.

“And to make the evening ‘sweeter,’ guests will be able to taste our world-famous liquid nitrogen ice cream!”

Parents and children should be able to find plenty to enjoy at the event, said Luca Bombelli, chair and professor of physics and astronomy.

“Spooky Physics Night is an opportunity for the public to come and enjoy what we do all the time in a relaxed and refreshing manner,” he said. “For our faculty and students alike, it’s something everyone looks forward to each October.”

Parking for the event is available near Lewis Hall in the areas alongside or behind the Turner Center and the old athletics administration building, in the Pavilion garage or in the Tad Smith Coliseum parking lot.  All vehicles must be off campus by midnight.

For more information or for assistance related to a disability, call the Department of Physics and Astronomy at 662-915-5325.