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College of Liberal Arts
University of Mississippi

Spooky Physics Night Returns Oct. 30

Department of Physics and Astronomy hosts annual fun, informative family event


Lying on a bed of nails

A bed of nails

Expect to experience physics in a more mysterious way when the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy presents “Halloween Spooky Physics Night” from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday (Oct. 30) in Lewis Hall.

Every fall, the physics department’s faculty and students look forward to hosting this annual seasonal event that’s designed for all ages, but guaranteed to be a hair-raising event … literally.

Among the physics experiments that attendees are welcome to try for themselves involves a Van de Graaff generator, a electrostatic machine that charges a metal globe at 15,000 volts. Those who touch the generator will not get shocked, but their hair will stand up straight.

Organizers invite participants to check out other experiments that illustrate the “magic” of physics, while also informing and delighting viewers, said Marco Cavaglia, associate professor of physics. For instance, liquid nitrogen will be used to freeze objects and prepare fresh ice cream, which can be shared by those who attend “Spooky Physics Night.”

Other demonstration involve magnets, air pressure and even a bed of nails.

“Many people are intimidated by math and science, but we ‘do’ physics every day without even thinking about it,” Cavaglia said. “If we can help people realize this in an entertaining way, well, that’s worth a million classroom lessons.”

The stage show begins at 7:30 p.m. and a costume contest for youngsters will also be held during the free event. For more information about “Halloween Spooky Physics Night” or for assistance related to a disability, call the Department of Physics and Astronomy at 662-915-5325.