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Physics Outreach and Engagement

Physics Outreach and Engagement

Access to quality physics education benefits the world as a whole. Engaging students with science can help us get a head start on teaching the next generation of leaders to address issues that may arise in the future. On this page, we share a few highlights of the work our department does to engage the community.

Invite a physicist into your classroom

Supplement your classroom curriculum and provide your students with the opportunity to meet a physicist from OSU. To request a presentation, contact Davide Lazzati ( or Ethan Minot (


  • Astronomy (K-8, Spanish or English) Learn about the sun as a star and then observe the sun with our solar telescopes. On an active sun day we'll see prominences and flares.
  • More options to come.
People gathered in a field for the 2017 eclipse.

OSU’s Space Grant Festival attracted thousands to campus for the 2017 solar eclipse.

Night sky and sun viewing

The Department of Physics organizes quarterly public night sky viewing from the roof of Weniger Hall and midday Sun viewing from the Memorial Union Quad. Do to weather constraints these events are organized and advertised on short notice. Please email Davide Lazzati ( to be included to the mailing list and receive notices of an upcoming observing day/night. Notices are normally sent the day before the observation.

Kid riding on leaf blower hovercraft

Kids learned about air pressure and inertial forces before riding the ever-popular “OSU Hoover Craft” during a school visit.

Family science nights at local elementary schools

Local schools often invite our outreach volunteers (faculty and students) to present physics activities at Family Science Nights. Learning the physics of a hovercraft, and then riding on our hover craft, is always a favorite for kids.

School visits to the OSU campus

We offer lab tours and physics-related presentations to school groups visiting campus. You can combine a 45 minute physics presentation with a Campus Field Trip that is offered by OSU Precollege Programs. The Gazette-Times featured one of our presentations in a recent article.

Children during Discovering the Scientist Within event.

Young girls learn about science during Discovering the Scientist Within

Discovering the Scientist Within

Physics participates in this STEM experience for middle school girls, offering exciting hands-activities led by women undergraduate, graduate and faculty roles models. Learn more about Discovering the Scientist Within.

Xavier Siemens demonstrating a waveform experiment.

Professor Xavier Siemens demonstrates a physics experiment during Discovery Days.

Discovery Days

Discover Days happens twice a year (approximately Nov 1 and May 1). Physics offers demonstrations and hands-on activities. Examples of what you might discover:

  • Experience angular momentum on a rotating chair
  • Ping-pong balls and hair driers demonstrate lift
  • A vortex cannon that shoots puffs of air
  • Marbles traversing space-time on warped spandex.
  • Iron filings that help visualize magnetic fields
  • Diffraction gratings and glasses
  • Mirror illusions
  • Pendulum making patterns in sand
  • Using sensors to create interactive graphs of position, temperature and light intensity

Activities are led by faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students. Discovery Days is held at LaSells Stewart Center, opposite the OSU Football Stadium.