Across Europe, there are groups of physics students which visit schools, science musea and other scientific venues to do performances, which involve a mixture of scientific explanations and demonstration experiments. Such shows, known as 'physics shows', are meant to encourage the audience to be enthusiastic about science and to bring the scientists closer to the public. These shows have been active in countries across Europe, with a total audience of over 100.000 each year.
This workshop will be the meeting point for the various physics shows which are already in existence across Europe, as well as the place where new individuals who want to set up a new physics show at their own university can pick up the necessary skills. By organizing such a workshop we will create a Europe-wide network of contacts which will facilitate the exchange of information and experiences between groups.
The workshop will consists of two series of events. The first of these are the lectures. There will be lectures on everything which is required to set up a physics show, from show techniques to PR, and from demonstrations to feedback from schools.
The second track in the workshop will be experimental sessions. The basic idea of these sessions is that people can get hands-on experience with experiments with which they are not familiar. We are encouraging all of the groups to bring their best experiments, and we expect to cover most areas of physics with at least a few experiments. For the new people, the experimental sessions will be about learning how to perform the standard experiments. For the people who already have a physics show, this will be a chance to share detailed technical information about the experiments. We have arranged for the technical and electronics workshop to be at our disposal during these weeks, so that we can build small pieces of equipment if this is needed.
One other highlight of the program is the visit to Teyler's Museum in Haarlem on the last day of the workshop. Teyler's houses a collection of 19th century electrostatic machines and other equipment which was then used for scientific research but is nowadays used for demonstration purposes. On the second-to-last day of the workshop, we will give a joint show performance on the main square of Leiden, as closure of the experimental program.
In between the scheduled progam, there will be plenty of time for small-scale discussions and collaborations. We hope that by giving people plenty of time to discuss specific experiments and problems in small groups, an organic network of contacts will form across Europe.
For more information, see http://www.physics.leidenuniv.nl/rino/epfconference/intro.php