Spooky Science Secrets Revealed
By Kathleen Laufenberg
Posted: Oct. 15, 2012
Contact: Kathleen Laufenberg, firstname.lastname@example.org
If You Go
When: Oct. 30, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; special brief tour at 5:30 p.m. for interested adults and children.
What: Magnet Mystery Hour presents Spooky Science Secrets.
Where: MagLab, 1800 East Paul Dirac Drive (in Innovation Park).
TALLAHASSEE — Ever wonder what makes a glow stick glow? At the labs October 30th Magnet Mystery Hour, kids will experiment with light sticks and learn a few of their luminous secrets. Theyll also examine marshmallows, delve into the mystery of orange snow and lots more. The free Oct. 30 event — Spooky Science Secrets — begins at the lab at 6 p.m. and wraps up about 7 p.m.
If youd like a brief lab tour — one with a special Halloween twist! — come early for a 5:30 p.m. walkabout. The fall Magnet Mystery Hour is fun for people of all ages, but elementary-school children will have an especially good time. Parents and guardians must stay and supervise their children for the entire event.
MagLab educator Carlos Villa stands in front of HiPER, a new lab machine. HiPERs been spruced up with some Halloween decorations — but those black cones arent witches hats, theyre part of the machine. The cones are the scientific equivalent of soundproof insulation in a music studio; they absorb pulses of radiation. Photo by Larry Gordon
When I say were going to do science, I really mean were going to do science, said Carlos Villa, the events master of ceremonies and the labs K-12 educational outreach coordinator. There are so many ways to tie in science with the Halloween holiday, it makes it a lot of fun. Last year, it was a big hit with the kids. We got a lot of people to think about things that they hadnt thought about before.
Thats where the glow sticks come in, Villa added. While many kids use them for trick-or-treating, few children know much about them.
Light sticks have always been super cool: You take this little plastic stick and you snap it and all of a sudden it starts glowing all by itself, Villa said. Its actually a chemical reaction, but nobody ever stops to think about it that way. We want to jump on that and make them think about why the stick is glowing, so that the next time they see one, theyll say, 'I know why thats glowing and why its going to run out eventually. I know how to make it last longer, and I even know how to make it shine brighter.' Its all based on science.
At the event, kids will do an experiment and watch what happens. Then Villa will lead a discussion about what theyve discovered and what they might infer from their results. Scientists have to learn how to be excellent observers — which is harder than it sounds — and to make logical inferences based on what theyve seen. Villa will wrap up the evening with a science demonstration using liquid nitrogen, a spectacle that typically elicits plenty of oohs and ahhs from the audience.
After their mental workout, the kids can take their glow sticks and other MagLab treats home with them. So come join the fun! The lab can only accommodate about 60 children and parents, however, so plan to arrive early. It’s first come, first served.
The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory develops and operates state-of-the-art, high-magnetic-field facilities that faculty and visiting scientists and engineers use for research. The laboratory is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the state of Florida. To learn more visit www.magnet.fsu.edu.