Physics and Engineering Festival

Holding hundreds of demonstrations and lectures, along with their famous depth charge, the Physics and Engineering Festival is a must see for anyone with a curious soul.

Along with lectures by key members of the science community, this event will contain a very popular bubble show for both kids and adults with a grande finale at 3:30 p.m., featuring their water barrel depth charge. This festival will host a lecture the night before the main event, starting at 7 p.m. at the Mitchell Physics Hall, about the science of brewery joined by Blackwater Draw. The Physics and Engineering Festival will start on Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mitchell Physics and Mitchell Institute Buildings.

Tatiana Erukhimova, a professor at the department of physics and astronomy, is in charge of the Physics and Engineering Festival. There are 200 hands-on demonstrations and some of them are brand new and some have been innovated from recent years. According to Erukhimova, this event has demonstrations that will occupy the kids while teaching adults about the science behind it.

“We invite people to celebrate science with us,” Erukhimova said. “Not only people that are interested in science but everyone. You don’t need to be interested in science nor major in science, but you should want a chance to play with science and find out how fun it is. The goal is celebration.”

A few public lectures will be held during the festival, including one hosted by Nancy Currie-Gregg, an engineering professor at Texas A&M. Currie-Gregg will be discussing her time as a NASA astronaut and her experience helping put together the Hubble Space Telescope in space. The hands-on demonstrations will also have a teaching portion, giving undergraduate students a chance to learn concepts through application and use.

Callie Rethman, a physics junior, has been involved in the festival for the past three years. Rethman has created a demonstration with others as a part of Discover, Explore, and Enjoy Physics and Engineering. DEEPE is a program where undergraduate students pick a graduate mentor to build unique demonstrations together for the festival. According to Rethman, this year’s festival is a personal highlight for her.

“We built a laser maze,” Rethman said. “We used coding to make it to where when you trip a laser an alarm goes off. Kids have a lot of fun with the laser maze. We made it with just normal pen lasers and mounted them on board and had light sensors so when the kids break the laser the sensor would know that. We made a sort of fun spy experiment for the kids.”

Dawson Nodurft is a physics graduate student. Nodurft saw a supersonic ping pong cannon as an undergrad and recently renovated it for this year’s festival. Nodurft said that what makes this event so special is that it gives attendees personal experiences with the creators of the hands-on demonstrations.

“We’re people,” Nodurft said. “We’re not just people in lab coats. You can see us in yourselves and come back knowing that this is something you can do.”

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