Fermilab life of LabFest
Fermilab neutrino physicist Dave Schmitz and DZero physicist Mike Cooke demonstrate physics principles to attendees at Chicago's LabFest on Friday, Aug. 21.
When Fermilab scientists used liquid nitrogen to shoot a ball skyward through man-made fog, the crowd parted. Some gasped in their lawn seats while covering their ears. Older elementary school-aged boys broke into a run across Millennium Park in search of the flying trophy.
Everyone was paying attention.
The cryogenic show was only one of several activities Fermilab volunteers, docents and Education Office staffers brought to the Chicago landmark park last month to celebrate the grand finale of LabFest, a series of 14 outdoor, summer science fairs. Each LabFest drew between 450 and 2,000 spectators, except for the Millennium Park event that attracted 8,000 science lovers.
Fermilab volunteers made physics fun and accessible at all of the outings. ABC's "Live Green" TV segment captured the festive spirit at the LabFest at Oscar DePriest Elementary School in Chicago.
"It is wonderful when kids ask questions," said Penelope Constanta of Fermilab's Computing Division.
"I love Fermilab, so I am happy to tell people about it. I think if you love science, you have a responsibility to propagate that in the next generation."
At the various LabFests, children and parents tried simple experiments and watched demonstrations arranged by Fermilab volunteers in order to learn about the physics concepts of light and color, electricity, force and motion and magnetism. Physicist Dave Schmitz volunteered at the final fest, and you can read his first-hand account on his blog at Quantum Diaries.
The LabFests were just some of the events Fermilab participated in as part of Science Chicago, a collaborative year-long celebration of scientific discovery through free hands-on activities, demonstrations and take-home activities at parks, libraries and festivals across the Chicagoland area as well as lectures and open houses.
-- Tona Kunz
Fermilab physicist Dave Schmitz demonstrates physics principles to a young LabFest attendee.