CU Wizards Program For Children Showcases Top Science Faculty

Published: Sept. 11, 1997

Several top science faculty from the University of Colorado at Boulder will turn their attention from college students to helping develop younger minds on 10 Saturday mornings this school year.

Professors will intrigue youngsters with demonstrations of physics, chemistry, biochemistry and astronomy. Examples include simulating lightning bolts, exploring atomic spectra, freezing air, detonating contact explosives and “listening” to light.

Now in its 21st year, the popular CU Wizards series is set to begin Sept. 27.

The one-hour shows, which are free and open to the public, are intended for children in grades five through nine. The shows will be presented on the last Saturday of each month, with two exceptions (Jan. 24 and June 13), and all but the June show will start at 9:30 a.m. Parents are advised to arrive early to find choice seating and parking.

New to the faculty line-up this year is Eric Cornell of JILA, who co-led a team of scientists that made international headlines two years ago with its creation of a new form of matter, the long-sought Bose-Einstein condensate. Nobel laureate Tom Cech, a CU professor of chemistry and biochemistry, also will present a series segment after taking a break last year.

John Taylor, who was known for many years as “Mr. Wizard” before the program was expanded to include more faculty in 1994, is still involved as well.

“This is now the fourth year in the new program, and we’re moving more and more into the different scientific disciplines with new shows such as The Physics of Music,” said series coordinator David Nesbitt, who will lead off this year’s series. A professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Nesbitt also is affiliated with JILA (the former Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The 1997-98 CU Wizards schedule follows:

•Sept. 27, 9:30 a.m., Chemistry room 140, Professor David Nesbitt of chemistry and biochemistry, JILA and NIST, “Chemistry is Fun.”

•Oct. 25, 9:30 a.m., Chemistry room 140, Distinguished Professor Tom Cech of chemistry and biochemistry, “Where Chemistry Meets Biology.”

•Nov. 29, 9:30 a.m., Duane Physics room G-030, Professor Noel Clark of physics, Professor David Walba of chemistry and biochemistry, and Chris Conery of the Broomfield High School science faculty, “Liquid Crystals.”

•Dec. 27, 9:30 a.m., Duane Physics room G-030, Professor John Taylor of physics, “Hot and Cold.”

•Jan. 24, 9:30 a.m., Duane Physics room G-030, Professor Eric Cornell of JILA, “Speed.”

•Feb. 28, 9:30 a.m., Chemistry room 140, Professors Tarek Sammakia and Gordon Yee of chemistry and biochemistry, “Polymers, Foams and Gels.”

•March 28, 9:30 a.m., Duane Physics room G-030, Professor Paul Beale of physics, “The Physics of Flight.”

•April 25, 9:30 a.m., Duane Physics room G-030, Professor Dana Anderson of physics and JILA, “Fantastic Light.”

•May 30, 9:30 a.m. Duane Physics room G-030, Professor Jim Faller of physics, JILA and NIST, “The Physics of Music.”

•June 13, 10 a.m., Fiske Planetarium, Professor Katy Garmany of astrophysical and planetary sciences and JILA, “Finding Your Way Around the Sky.”

Free parking is available for all shows in the Regent Drive Autopark (lot 436). Free parking also is available in lots 169 and 396 off of Folsom Street, and in part of lot 378 southeast of the stadium, except on Sept. 27, when a home football game is scheduled. The Euclid Avenue Autopark near the Chemistry building and lot 360 near Duane Physics will be open to visitors for $1 per hour. Lot 308 near the planetarium will be available for free parking in addition to the other lots for the June show.

Anyone with a disability or special need is asked to notify the physics department at 492-6952 a few days in advance of the show. For general information about the CU Wizards schedule and locations call 492-4318.