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Physics and fun come together at USU demo show

Emma Feuz

Exploding balloons got people’s attention at Friday’s Utah State Physics’ November Demo Show, but it was USU physics professor James Coburn’s non-stop demonstrations that had the crowd oohing and aahing all evening long.

Coburn has been running the demo show for 14 years. The show features physics demonstrations all centered around a different theme. Coburn’s theme this year was light.


“We showed all kinds of ways to make light and then talked about whether lights are a wave or a particle,” Coburn said. “We did a little bit with lenses and and then did some color.”


Coburn said the show is patterned after the Christmas lectures held in England. He said the aim for these demos is to help everyone learn and be interested in science.


“There are people in the community who want to see you know, learn more about science who'd like to learn maybe about physics, but don't want to take a physics class,” Coburn said. “This way, they can have a fun evening, learn something and have a lot of fun while they're at it.”


Attending a show means you might leave thinking physics really is fun.


“I never would have said so prior to coming to this, but James really makes it fun. And I've seen a lot of things that I've really enjoyed,” demo attendee Tina Coburn said.


Or even be inspired to be a scientist when you grow up.


“I wanna learn how to make cool inventions and learn how to make things hover,” future scientist Peyton Womack said.


Coburn said no matter your physics expertise, science is for everyone.


“Physics can be intimidating because of math or because of the difficult concepts,” Coburn said. “But there is physics that is available to everybody.”


Emma Feuz is a senior at Utah State University majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She grew up in Evanston, Wyoming where, just like Utah State, the sagebrush also grows. Emma found her love of writing at an early age and slowly discovered her interest in all things audio and visual throughout her years in school. She is excited to put those passions to use at UPR. When school isn't taking up her time, Emma loves longboarding, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and cleaning the sink at Angies.