“Muggles” to explore science with magic

by Tyler Jensen

jensenty@mnstate.edu

MSUM Society of Physics students will host a demonstration of scientific wonders Friday from 6 – 8 p.m. Students attending should make sure to bring their pens, notebooks and — magic wands?

The theme of the event is “muggle magic,” and the goal of the scientists involved is to recreate magic using the power of physics, chemistry and other disciplines.

The group describes the event on its Facebook page as “a spooky adventure into some mysterious science.”

Its page reads there will be mad experiments with fire, freezing, goop and more.

The free demonstrations will be in the Langseth Hall Atrium and open to the public. There will also be showings in the planetarium throughout the event, costing $6 for adults and $3 for children, seniors and tri-college students.

Society president Wyatt Davis said the event fits in with the organization’s goal.

“The purpose of this event, like most events put on by our club, is to encourage an interest in scientific thought and inquiry amongst the general public, catering mostly to a younger demographic,” Davis said. “To us muggles, the fruits of science are the closest we will get to achieving magic. This is the idea behind the show.”

According to Davis, although the event is made for a younger audience, older people also respond positively.

Senior Stephanie Hansen, who went to the event two years ago, recalled her favorite experiment.

“They took a magnetized ball and put it into a cauldron, and then they put foam or something on top to create the bubbling cauldron,” Hansen said. “I thought it was cool.”

Hansen is also a fan of the “Harry Potter” series and the fantasy genre in general, and felt it was incorporated well.

“It was fun,” she added. “I felt it was a good mix of science and the fantasy elements, and it was educational for the kids, too, so that’s always a plus.”

She feels it’s important to make learning fun for kids.

“It doesn’t always have to be something popular like ‘Harry Potter,’ but (the teachers) should be able to portray it in a fun way,” Hansen said.

This year, experiments include everything from non-Newtonian fluids to the vortex cannon used by President Anne Blackhurst. Davis also said they’re working on including a bed of nails, though it’s still in the testing phase.

It’s not just wonders of science that will be at the event. The club will provide food and show “Hogwarts Astronomy” in the planetarium throughout the event.

“The main challenge in planning an event like this is not so much in doing it and presenting the science, but more so keeping the preparation steady and not last-minute,” Davis said. “Taking the time to plan the specifics of these things out so we’re not rushed at the last minute can sometimes be painful in the short term. However, I find that you can tell the difference in quality of a well-planned event and a thrown together, shoddy one.”

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