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March 2005

Release date: March 10, 2005

Physics Grant to Help ASU Students Share Science with Area Schools

When Angelo State Universitys Society of Physics Students became one of 20 chapters nationwide to receive a $10,000 American Physics Society grant this month, ASU students ability to share science with area schools grew symbolically from an aluminum can to a 55-gallon drum.

ASU physics students, dubbed the Peer Pressure Team, have traveled the area conducting physics demonstrations at elementary, middle and high schools during the past year on a limited scale. The grant will help the ASU Society of Physics Students chapter, which is directed by Dr. Toni Sauncy, assistant professor of physics, enlarge its demonstrations and increase the number of students it can reach.

One of the demonstrations students offer involves boiling water in a soft drink can. After the water is boiling, students use tongs to flip the can over in a reservoir of cold water. The sudden pressure and temperature change causes the can to collapse. The grant will allow the students to replace the aluminum cans with more impressive 55-gallon drums.

The grant, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energys Office of Science, is part of the American Physics Societys participation in the World Year of Physics 2005. The celebration is in honor of the 100th anniversary of the year Albert Einstein published three seminal truths in modern physics.

Sauncy said the goal of the demonstrations is to show young people that science is accessible and relevant to them.

Nearly all students think science is important, but many of the students think they cant do science,she said. We entertain them, but we also educate them about fundamental principles.

To reinforce the accessibility theme, all of the demonstrations are done by ASU students, Sauncy said. The show lasts about an hour and the explanations and materials are tailored to the age groups in the audience. The grant will allow students to travel within about a 200-mile radius to offer the free demonstrations.

For more information or to schedule a demonstration, call Sauncy at (325) 942-2577, Ext. 292.