MagLab Open House: Tallahassees Biggest Science Event!
By Kathleen Laufenberg
Posted: Jan. 25, 2013
Contact: Amy Mast, firstname.lastname@example.org
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Think of it as a giant science festival, complete with cryogenic rocket cars, frozen flowers, shrinking quarters, ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, levitation and things that go boom.
Magnet Lab Open House
When: Saturday, Feb. 16, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 1800 E. Paul Dirac Drive (in Innovation Park) Click for map
Cost: Free — but please bring a canned good to donate to Second Harvest
Details: Visit our Open House page for more info
Its the MagLabs Open House — Tallahassees biggest family science event of the year — on Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Its all free, but please bring a canned good to donate to the Second Harvest of the Big Bend.
Some of the biggest and most powerful magnets on the planet are housed at the lab. During Open House, the MagLabs more than 250 scientists and engineers will demonstrate some of the complex science principles they use daily in the most fun ways they can dream up. Well have about 90 different science demonstrations going on simultaneously, and more than a dozen community partners with booths, demonstrations and experiments.
One of the labs most popular demos is Einsteins Ice Cream. Physicist Hans van Tol, who moved from Holland a decade ago in order to work with the MagLabs cutting-edge electron magnetic resonance machines, will crank out gallons of ice cream faster than youve ever seen. While it may take 4 hours to make a regular batch of homemade ice cream, van Tol can whip up a half-gallon of vanilla, chocolate or any other flavor in 8 minutes. How? He uses liquid nitrogen to make the cream freeze super fast.
Click image to download event poster (PDF).
Most of the science we do here at the lab is done at very low temperatures, and so normally we use liquid nitrogen to cool down our experiments, van Tol says. But on this day, we use our liquid nitrogen to cool down the ice cream and make people happy.
Theres plenty for you to do, too. You can set off a water rocket and manipulate the air pressure, amount of water and launch angle in order to change the speed and height of the rocket.
You can watch a pickle transmit electricity — and glow as its literally cooked in the process — or you can launch a potato from a special veggie cannon, a demonstration of the conservation of energy principle (i.e., that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can be changed from one form to another).
Or perhaps youd rather experience a toroidal vortex. How? By aiming a giant, foot-wide smoke ring at a candle and trying to blow it out.
The smoke ring is in fact a circulating doughnut-shaped mass of air and smoke which is technically referred to as a toroidal vortex, says physicist Steve McGill, one of the scientists who works the giant smoke-ring machine at Open House. The circulation traps the air (and smoke) within it, and the mass of air moves through the atmosphere and carries momentum, which allows it to knock over light objects at a distance.
If mighty machines are your thing, you can witness the incredibly destructive power of a 2-tesla magnet as it flattens water jugs, or you can marvel over the labs 45 tesla magnet — the most powerful of its kind in the world (and we have the Guinness World Record to prove it!). Or you can witness a quarter shrink to the size of a dime with an impressive big bang.
There will be a variety of food trucks, too, and an open grill serving veggie burgers and hamburgers. And just down the street, there will be two other Open Houses during the same 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. hours, both on Levy Street.
One is at the Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS), 2000 Levy Street. At CAPS, youll find a variety of things to do and see — and you can even build your own extremely simple motor.
It’s a good hands-on experience the kids really seem to enjoy, says Steve McClellan, the deputy director of CAPS. When youre done making your motor, you can take it home with you, too.
Across the street from CAPS, the High-Performance Materials Institute, 2005 Levy Ave., is hosting its first-ever Open House. They are offering 30-minute tours of some of their labs, and they will have an intriguingly lightweight, battery-powered car for you to check out. Some of the cars body is made using carbon fibers, says Frank Allen, the institutes operations director. Researchers at the institute focus on creating cool, high-tech composite materials.
Click on any of the images below to find out more about Open House.
Play with Magnets at the Exploration Station
At the Exploration Station, young scientists-in-training explore magnetism and other cool phenomena hands-on!
Make a Comet!
Mix cola, glass cleaner, sand and soil to make your very own comet -- and find out why models like these are important to scientists.
Find out more
A toy train floats on air and demonstrates cool concepts like magnetic levitation, the Meissner Effect and magnetic flux trapping.
Find out more
Talk about inflation! The interplay of magnetic and electric forces can shrink a U.S. quarter to the size of a dime – in one millionth of a second.
Find out more
See, smell and feel starfish and other water dwellers in a special touch tank brought by FSUs Sea–to–See program, one of dozens of community partners contributing exhibits to Open House.
Spinning Our Wheels
Science is the wheel deal … and if this demonstration on angular momentum doesnt convince you, nothing will!
Smoke Ring Launcher
The smoke rings produced by this special launcher are actually circulating masses of air and smoke called toroidal vortexes. Holy smoke!
Can you plug in a pickle? Sure! This demonstration shows that pickles are both tasty and good conductors of electricity.
Give to Your Community
Open House is free for everyone! In the spirit of community, please donate a canned good to Americas Second Harvest of the Big Bend at the entrance.
Watch the purple sparks fly from our tesla coil and learn neat science about resonance and transformers.
Find out more
See in 3–D
Put on some special specs and see how 3–D images illustrate how the labs electron microscopes work.
Were located at 1800 E. Paul Dirac Drive in Tallahassees Innovation Park. Follow the link and look for the little red thumbtack!
I Scream, You Scream
Something for your sweet tooth is available from Einsteins Ice Cream, which serves the popular frozen treat with (of course!) a scientific twist. Surely, Albert himself would approve. The ice cream is FREE for everyone at Open House.
Bring your appetite: Several food trucks will be on hand offering a variety of lunch fare.
Fun with Nitrogen
Watch what happens when scientists from our Cryogenics Lab freeze balloons and flowers to -320 degrees Fahrenheit with the help of liquid nitrogen. Brrrrr!
Find out more
When Sharks Fly
Helium–filled sharks go airborne at Open House so that you can learn about buoyancy and aerodynamics.
Watch this slideshow of the 2011 Open House!
Open House Links
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.