2015 Accepted Outreach Proposals

Brief Summaries of Accepted Proposals

Fermilab: Cosmic Nightly News
“We will use a blend of satire, parody and honed outreach methods in the format of a news show—The Cosmic Nightly News (CNN)—to inform public audiences about the history and principles of physical cosmology and astronomy. We will tackle concepts from the big bang and measurements of the early universe to the discovery of dark energy and its impact on our universe's fate. For engagement with the public, we will employ strategic distribution through web, as well as in-person events where the CNN news team will meet and interact with people of all ages. CNN's intended audience is the general public—middle school and beyond—focusing on groups who more rarely come into contact with real scientists, including underrepresented minorities and women. CNN aims to give an honest and rigorous description of science concepts through the lenses of humor and modern culture, with similarly high energy and dynamism as seen in today's popular entertainment.”

New York University: Creative Turbulence: Experiments in Art and Physics
“We propose a public-facing collaboration between physicists performing research in fluid dynamics and condensed matter, and audiovisual artists working in cutting-edge media installation and performance. The participants will partner with Pioneer Works, an innovative arts exhibition space in the New York City area that focuses on the intersection of the arts and sciences. The result of this collaboration will be a curated exhibition, with supporting public programming, showing five artist/scientist collaborations around this theme. These collaborations will consist of installations, with a strong preference for works that are audiovisual as well as dynamic, interactive, participatory, performative, or otherwise “live” that use research in classical and quantum fluids as their inspiration.”

Pratt Institute: Science Behind Bars
“I propose a program to speak to female prisoners on Rikers Island about science, evidence based reasoning and the dangers of stereotype threat. My presentation will use a mixture of personal recollections, social science research, the history of science, and cutting edge research to tell a personal story that provides useful lessons and a vision of a different future.”

Joint Quantum Institute, UMD: Schroedinger Sessions–Science for Science Fiction
“One of the most vexing recurring problems facing science outreach is how to maximize the size of the audience. In-person experiences like demonstration shows are relatively simple to put together, but are necessarily limited to smaller audiences, hundreds at most. Mass media projects offer vastly greater potential audiences, but tend to be expensive to produce and difficult to place in effective distribution channels. We propose to attack this problem through a hybrid approach: running a small in-person workshop on modern physics aimed at the professional writers who create fiction for mass audiences. By engaging the creators of these works, we hope to inspire stories with more and better physics content, which will, in turn, bring that content to a much wider audience than would be practical to reach via one-to-one programming.”

University of Waterloo: Light at the Museum
“The exhibit will be a fun, hands-on event for all ages where we can educate the public about different properties of light and how these properties are harnessed to create many of the different technologies that we use in our everyday lives. To achieve this we plan to partner with local photonics companies to create optical demonstrations that both explain a fundamental property of light and showcase how this property is used in the company’s technology. On weekdays, many school groups visit the museum, and members of the museum’s staff lead interactive programming for these groups, and as part of this project we will be designing programs for these demonstrations. A kick-off “grand-opening” event will be held to which we are inviting local politicians and community leaders. Our student chapter is providing scientific content, designing the exhibits, and coordinating the overall effort.”

Texas A&M: Physics Reality Show
“The attention span of students is very short; they are used to digesting information in short snippets through social media and TV. To get the students interested, we will create ~ 20 episodes of the Physics Reality Show: staged short videos with duration no longer than a few minutes. Each video will explain and illustrate one physics concept or law through a fast-paced sequence of physics demonstrations and experiments. The cast will consist entirely of physics undergraduate students with artistic abilities and substantial experience in showing physics demonstrations at current outreach events run by the department: Physics Shows and Physics & Engineering Festival. Undergraduate students are of almost the same age as their high-school audience. They are in the best position to connect with kids and convey their fascination with physics. The PI and other faculty members who are heavily involved in the outreach will advise and coach the cast. They will help students in staging the episodes and choosing the most exciting and relevant demos out of the vast bank of Festival’s demos. A professional cameraman will be hired to film and edit each episode.”

University of Minnesota: Green Science
“Green Science will use short videos and a blog to highlight the benefits, both environmental and financial, of current energy efficient technologies and the scientific principles which undergird these technologies. Social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) will be used to engage the public and share the content. Each short segment will feature an environmental issue and explain the science behind the new technologies that help address the issue. There will be a step-by-step DIY segment that can be easily followed by the viewer; these ‘green-hacks’, will use the science and engineering in a way to help solidify the major concepts for both children and adults.”

The Physics Factory: Physics in the Sunshine State
“The Physics Bus, first launched 10 years ago in Tucson, Arizona, has recently undergone a transformative reawakening as a mobile exhibition and interaction space for childfriendly physics exhibits. In the wake of our recent growth, we are seeking support for a tour of rural, underserved communities in Florida. This tour would provide underprivileged elementary students direct interactions with physics phenomena in an engaging, informal context.”

UCLA: Nanoscience at the Mall
“In a recent Smithsonian.com article, “The Death and Rebirth of the American Mall,” the author reminds readers the importance and value of the mall to the daily life of most Americans: “For countless Americans—especially those who came of age in the postwar years—malls were the new town square: a place to shop, eat, gather and meander. Envisioned as perfectly pristine, cast against the gritty danger of urban centers, the American mall became the image of suburban consumerism.” The modern mall no longer serves as only a retail destination; it is a trusted social gathering space outside of home. Therefore, if the science community seeks a good location to educate the public about science outside the internet, television, and radio, perhaps the mall is the most convenient place to reach them. However, even a quick google search will suggest that this well-utilized public space has not been well (if at all) exploited by the science outreach community. Here we propose to setup a science demonstration booth at a mall, which would explain to the public how advancements in nanoscience are enabling technologies that have been impacting our lives. A key outcome of this Nanoscience Booth at the Mall project, beyond the expected public outreach for science, would be an initial assessment on the feasibility of utilizing a mall as an informal environment for learning science in the United States.”

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology: Captain, We have Matter Matters!
“There is an explosion of projects focused on bringing the wonders of spectrometry to the public. Projects range from Cloud connected consumer grade spectrometers to cell phone DIY spectrometer kits. Exposing the public to spectrometry will help them understand how they can use the newly emerging technologies. Our goal is to make an interactive play to educate the public—primarily elementary school students—on the science and use of spectrometers. The interactive play features the APS phone application SpectraSnapp, and invented Star Trek characters (pending approval from copyright holders; if denied, we will invent other equivalent “star people”).”

University of Valladolid, Spain:  Movie Physics: Pirates, Spies and Other Worlds
“Taking advantage of many popular films, the basics of the physical principles can be shown in a really attractive and stunning way. Five shows/workshops form this project attending the necessities of the target public: kids will become pirates, high-school students will be push to the limit and visit other fantasy worlds, and the general public will discover the powers of physics and some terrifying secrets. The diffusion of this program englobes both direct explanations to students and ICTs (information and communications technology) by means of, e.g., short educational videos.”