April 16, 2004  


SLAC Science at Stanford Community Day

By Linda DuShane White

SLAC participated in the third annual Stanford Community Day, an open house to introduce people from the local area to the University. Combine this with the Founder’s Celebration, mix in diverse activities such as science demonstrations, Dickens, the arts, the Stanford Band, food booths, lectures, a carnival, a petting zoo, Shakespeare and bicycle races and you have the perfect recipe for fun!

A brave volunteer on the Bed of Nails. (Photos by Diana Rogers)

Curious visitors steadily streamed by the SLAC exhibits along the Packard Building patio and arcade. Questions were answered by a team of volunteers handing out Tour SLAC buttons, Future of Science mirrors and posters. They also provided information about tours and public lectures.

The Kavli Institute’s Ask-an-Astronomer team was accompanied by a special exhibit staff ed by Sonoma State NASA Education and Public Outreach with special GLAST giveaways. A cosmic ray detector and a cloud chamber were set up in the darkened arcade where people were given an explanation of what they were seeing by a team of physicists.

A crowd-pleasing physics lesson was Keith Jobe’s (NLC) chocolate chip ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, handed out to onlookers as a treat after each dramatic demonstration.

Our most flamboyant demonstration—the bed of nails—was flanked by crowds every time guest physicist Michael (MO) Olson (St. Norbert College) took up his bullhorn to announce another show.

Surprisingly, plenty of volunteers agreed to lie between two beds of nails with a cement block placed on top (see photo). The block became a cloud of dust when demolished by a sledge hammer and volunteers arose unharmed to laughter and “aahhs” from the crowd.

Special thanks go out to the many Ambassadors to the Community who supported this event from Nina Stolar (PAO) and Barry Webb (ER). The months of planning and hard work paid off. Stanford Community Day was an ideal venue to publicize the educational and scientific programs, tours and talks available at SLAC.

To see more pictures of the event look under Special Events for 2004, at: www-project.slac.stanford.edu/slacpix/index.htm


The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is managed by Stanford University for the US Department of Energy

Last update Tuesday April 13, 2004 by Emily Ball