Independent Minds, Working Together
Science Day

Physics Club President Lily Christman (left) and fellow physics major Tyler Rhoades demonstrate the effects of air pressure at Science Day over the weekend. In this experiment, they show how a liquid can boil at room temperature by pumping air out of the glass jar to reduce the pressure.

 

‘Desire to Discover’ Draws Record Number of Attendees to Science Day

College of Wooster students share their passion for science with the community

April 25, 2013 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Science Day at The College of Wooster proved to be quite the attraction again this year, drawing a record number of participants (271) to the three-hour event last Saturday in Taylor Hall.

With children as their primary focus, science majors from seven clubs on campus — Astronomy, Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Neuroscience, and Physics — provided a tantalizing assortment of hands-on demonstrations and experiments, including those involving the formation of fossils, the creation of “flubber,” the launching of rockets, and the combining of Coke and Mentos to cause a “volcanic eruption.”

“It’s a known fact that all physics majors are children (at heart),” joked senior physics major Michael-Erik Ronlund as he gestured toward the experiments being performed. “I mean, we do this all day.”

Among the many visitors on Saturday was the Wellert Family from West Salem. Mary Wellert, a second grader, and her older brother, Craig, a fourth grader, were accompanied by their parents, Craig and Carrie. “I’m really excited to go upstairs and see the brains,” said Mary, who wants to be a scientist when she grows up. The neuroscience club’s hands-on demonstration included real brains from a cow, a pig, and a sheep.

“We were truly impressed,” said Carrie Wellert. “The experiments were very interesting and very well done. We intended to stay for a short time, but wound up being there for the full three hours.”

Heather Moore, who graduated from Wooster in 2010 with a degree in physics, was responsible for restarting Science Day five years ago, and she returned this year to join the celebration. “Each (science) club really knows what they are doing, and they are really excited (about it),” she said. “They have gotten a lot better at communicating the science (to the general public).”

John Lindner, professor of physics and a driving force behind the event, was particularly enthusiastic about the number of college students participating in the demonstrations as well as the number of attendees, which hit 60 in the first half hour. “I’m especially excited that all the science clubs are represented,” said Lindner. “They all have such strong offerings, including Izzy (the iguana). He’s usually caged in biology, but we have (him) uncaged down the hall.”

By 2:30 — 90 minutes into the event — parents and children were still streaming through the doors where they were greeted by college scientists who set the tone for the day by telling each of the kids to “major in science.”

- Story by Libby Fackler ‘13