Athens families and Ohio University students can experience the fun of science for free with the OU Physics and Astronomy department bringing back its biannual open house event.

The Physics and Astronomy open house happens every other year and acts as a way to provide tours of the labs, showcase the technology through exciting spectacles and giving people hands-on experience with various activities. 

Mark Lucas, a senior lecturer for the physics and astronomy department, is integral in putting the event on.


If You Go:
What: Physics and Astronomy Open House

Where: Clippinger Laboratories at Ohio University 

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.  

Admission: Free

“We turn Clippinger into an interactive science museum for the day,” Lucas said. “I’m trusted to shape it and launch it, and kind of see where the chaos leads.”

The open house started in 2005 for the world year of physics. The department as a whole came together and decided to make it a bi-annual event, but tweaked it so it was only for one day. 

The event features lectures and tours. This year, one of the lectures is about the cosmic balancing act, and a group from the geography department will give tours of Scalia Laboratory. These are geared more toward older attendees. 

The event also features shows and hallway activities. The hallway activities are geared more toward younger people to experience hands-on activities of science, but the shows are for everyone. 

This year, the shows will be “Fun with Liquid Nitrogen,” “What NOT to Do with Your Microwave,” “Sharks with Lasers on Their Heads,” “Levitation: Beating Back Gravity,” “Power of Air,” “Makers Corner” and “Making the Invisible Escape Room.”

Typically the event gets about a thousand people to come through, and have between 120 and 150 volunteers. 

Students think the event is going to be a great way for families and other OU students to have a hands-on science experience. 

Brandy Gabrielson, a junior studying restaurant, hotel and tourism, believes it’s an affordable opportunity for people to have some science-themed fun. 

“It’ll be entertaining for people to go to and very hands-on education-wise,” Gabrielson said. “It’s a cool opportunity for families to go to, especially for families who can’t afford Cosi or Imagination Station.”

Malorie Hurd, an undecided freshman, likes the idea that children can get educated about science through fun activities.

“It’s important so they can get an idea of what goes on in the college labs, and use stuff hands-on for themselves,” Hurd said. “Also, if I didn’t know where I wanted to go to school or if I wanted to try stuff out, this would be interesting.”

Lucas’ favorite part about the event is the energy he gets from the attendees. 

“We get kids who come in and are just all over the place and excited about what they’re doing, and then that bleeds over to the undergrads and the graduate students and the faculty who are doing the shows and activities,” Lucas said.

Lucas believes with the informal setting and plethora of activities that people of all ages should come and enjoy a day full of science and learning about things they may not normally get the chance to be exposed to. 

“There’s a wide range of activities and it’s geared toward all ages,” Lucas said. “And some of the things the physical world has in store for us are quite fascinating, so it’s fun to poke and prod around the edges.”


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