The APS public outreach department is encouraging physics enthusiasts of all ages to “bounce, spin, jump and splash your way into physics history” by entering a new physics video contest. The “toy box physics” video contest challenges participants to create a short YouTube video that demonstrates the physics behind toys such as slinky, dippy birds, yo-yos, and more.
Last year, the APS outreach department held its first video contest, the “nanobowl,” in which entrants created videos explaining some aspect of the physics of football. Following the success of that effort, the outreach department is sponsoring another contest this year. “We realized there is a lot of physics in toys, and we thought that would be a good idea for our next video contest,” said Becky Thompson-Flagg, head of public outreach at APS.
Contest entrants are encouraged to be imaginative. “We’re excited to see what people come up with,” said Thompson-Flagg. Fun, interesting videos that correctly explain the physics will impress the judges more than high production quality.
Last year’s contest attracted 27 entries; the outreach department expects an even greater response this year. APS hopes to receive submissions from physicists and from students of all ages. Professors could encourage their students to enter, suggests Thompson-Flagg.
Last year the prize for the best entry in the “nanobowl” video contest was $1000 and a “nanotrophy,” a silicon chip etched with a nanoscale football field and helmet, made by Harold Craighead’s research lab at Cornell University.This year, in addition to $1000, the winner will receive a trophy made by the APS outreach staff out of physics related toys. Unlike last year’s trophy, this year’s will actually be visible to the naked eye.
The submitted videos will be posted on YouTube with the tag “toy box physics” and on the PhysicsCentral website. Since the videos will be fun and educational, teachers could use them in their classes as teaching tools.