Twenty student representatives from Clark’s Physics Department were among 100 scientists who participated in the Cambridge Science Festival, a widely-anticipated annual regional celebration that showcases the leading edge in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM).
The students led festival attendees — most of whom were students in grades K-12 and their guardians — through interactive, child-friendly demonstrations involving magnets, a fire piston, magnetic putty, and hydrogels, and performed optical illusions for the crowd; the group used scientific equipment and household materials to demonstrate the fundamental properties of physics, from optics to electricity.
Greg Jones ’19, a physics major who has volunteered at the festival three times in the past four years, said that this year the number of Clark volunteers surpassed that of previous years and the group introduced some exciting new experiments. Jones said the “vortex cannon,” a demonstration that uses air pressure to launch rings of smoke, was a crowd favorite again this year.
“Kids and adults loved getting the opportunity to shoot the smoke rings and watch them travel all the way across the large gym,” he said.
Jones’ favorite line to use is, “What do you think? Was it magic? Nope! Just physics!”
“I love physics, and this event is the perfect opportunity to take that passion and pass it on to others,” he said. “It is an amazing feeling to show a young person a demonstration and watch the look of awe in their eyes!”
The Cambridge Science Festival is a 10-day multifaceted, multicultural event that makes science accessible, interactive and fun, and highlights the impact of STEAM in our lives. The festival, which is supported by MIT, Harvard University, the City of Cambridge, WGBH, and the Museum of Science, Boston, attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually.