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The APS Division of Plasma Physics (DPP), one of the most active APS divisions in terms of educational and outreach activities for the general public, recently sponsored two events at George Washington University to target DC-area schoolchildren. A Science Teachers' Day in March served as a precursor to a highly successful Plasma Sciences Expo in April. The latter was co-sponsored by General Atomics, George Washington University, Howard University, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, MIT, the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and the Department of Energy.
Over 130 teachers attended the Science Teacher's Day on March 10 at George Washington University. APS Fellow, Congressman Vernon Ehlers, was the luncheon keynote speaker. The Science Expo held on April 2-3 drew 1800 junior high and high school aged students from the District of Columbia, Arlington and Fairfax, Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland. The exhibit was open to the general public on Thursday evening. Funds for the event were provided by the DOE, which underwrote the largest portion of the Science Expo, supplemented by a $4,000 grant from the DPP, according to Mark Haynes, General Atomics.
The Expo focused on interactive hands-on science education, engaging students at all levels, as well as parents, teachers and the general public. In addition to meeting professional plasma physicists, students were able to generate their own electricity, observe their own fluctuating body temperatures on a special monitor, manipulate a plasma with magnets, observe an electromagnetic wave demonstration, and learn how to confine plasmas magnetically in a fusion device through participation in a computer simulation.
Other companies, institutions and organizations participating in the Plasma Sciences Expo include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of California, San Diego, University of Wisconsin, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Contemporary Physics Education Project, ITER, and the Euratom Association. Members of the DPP and APS headquarters staff also helped with the Expo.
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