The University of Maryland Department of Physics presented Exploring Light as part of the 2015 Maryland STEM Festival, bringing together area families from across Maryland and the Washington, DC metro area. The program celebrated the International Year of Light by educating and entertaining visitors with activities involving the dynamic nature of light as both a wave and a particle.
The Physics Discovery Day event kicked off with a series of physics demonstrations that engaged the audience in the world of light. After the presentation, visitors ventured around the Physics Lecture Halls, stopping at hands-on stations facilitated by undergraduate and graduate physics students and local high school students and teachers. To encourage guests to ask questions and help them retain physics concepts, a fun Physics of Light Passport was presented to visitors to guide them through the event and to allow them to record their findings on light and its behavior.
Highlights included writing with light on the "glow wall" using high energy photons given off by violet LEDs or black lights, exploring optical illusions, giant bubbles, and the mesmerizing patterns created by a moving magnet in a mixture of ferrofluid and glow stick fluid.
Overall, the program was a huge success. The University of Maryland Department of Physics looks forward to participating in next year's Maryland State STEM Festival.
Physics Discovery Days returns on January 16, 2016.