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May 2006

Release Date: May 15, 2006

Peer Pressure is All About Physics

Angelo State University physics students will take their knowledge on the road when the Society of Physics Students Peer Pressure Team presents science demonstrations at nine West Texas schools over the course of a week.

During the week, the ASU students will demonstrate fun applications of science to an estimated 1,000 elementary and secondary students. The team will make vapor vortex rings with a fog machine, turn a model grain elevator into a fireball and shrink marshmallows and balloons with liquid nitrogen.

“Rural schools don’t always have full lab facilities,” said ASU physics faculty member Toni Sauncy, who will accompany the students along with physics faculty member Christian Poppeliers. “They can talk about the experiments, but they often don’t have the opportunity to see them first-hand. It really just promotes interest in science. It lets them know that science is for everyone, not just the privileged.”

The group’s tour will begin Monday, May 15, in Sterling City. From there, the students will travel to Garden City before spending the night in Midland. They will resume their tour Tuesday morning in Greenwood. From there, they will continue to Rankin on Tuesday, Fort Stockton and Balmorhea on Wednesday, Marfa on Thursday morning, Alpine on Thursday afternoon and Fort Davis on Friday morning.

The Peer Pressure Team comprises members of the ASU chapter of the Society of Physics Students, and the activity is the cornerstone of their community outreach. The ASU chapter was named one of the top SPS chapters in the United States in 2005, the fourth straight year they received the honor.

Team members are Morgan Lynch of San Antonio, Margaret Hubbell of Fort Worth, Marshall Preas of Ballinger, Andy Russell of Breckenridge, Kasey Gammons, Victor Bautista and James Matthews of San Angelo, and Jennifer Hendryx and Roman Rodriguez of Alpine.

The program, in its third year, is funded by a grant from the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Physics and the national office of the Society of Physics Students.