Science potpourri draws the community; showcases students’ knowledge

Lenin Lau/ Sun Star Reporter

April 15, 2014

UAF’s 20th annual Science Potpourri, was a showcase for students from the College of Natural Science and Mathematics. Science students used their knowledge and technical capability to put on shows and demonstrations for visitors to enjoy, as well as teaching young minds some lessons in the school of natural science.

Hundreds of people including families and children, pre-schoolers, elementary kids, middle schoolers and even UAF students dressed as “Zombies vs. Humans” packed the Reichardt building on Saturday afternoon to see science experiments and demonstrations.  

On the first floor, physics was in action, as UAF science students demonstrated vibrating bowls, magnet paper clips that dance in one’s hand and static electricity demonstrations that literally left participants’ hair standing.

Across the hall, kids panned for gold and touched starfish, while both parents and kids took a trip back to the Jurassic period as they dug up fossils and examined dinosaur bones.

Upstairs, chemistry grad students guided excited participants in making slime and goo; thermodynamics turned bent metal straight, and kids flocked to get ultraviolet bracelets.

“We’re making bracelets, and we basically put these little beads, right now they’re white,” explained biochemistry grad student Aline Collin, “but as you go in the sunlight it makes them turn different colors.  Since there is UV light that we can’t see, it goes through the bead and becomes physical light, which we can see as colors.”

Around the corner, colors were once again abundant as visitors  got to see themselves through a thermal camera, turning them into green, red, orange and white people in a world of dark cold blueness.

The third floored housed the robotics section.  There were the ever-popular battle robots, robots made of Legos, and even a robot that kids could control remotely.  It captivated kids’ attention as they maneuvered the bot reminiscent of the Mars Rover.

At 2:30, visitors got to see the final show, “A ‘lava’ fun with Volcanoes.” They watched a model volcano erupt and spew lava, while learning the difference between volcanoes in Alaska and other places.  As 3:00 rolled around the activities started coming to a close as visitors lingered to catch one last demonstration before clean up.

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