April 11, 2011

Spring Fair, Physics Fair return to Homewood this weekend

Get ready for three days of fun, food and physics on the Homewood campus this weekend, when Johns Hopkins will celebrate its 40th student-run Spring Fair, paired for the eighth time with the annual Physics Fair.

The festivities begin at noon on Friday, April 15, when Spring Fair’s arts and craft vendors and extensive food court open for business. Plan to leave your brown bag lunch at home that day in favor of sampling fair favorites like funnel cakes, Jamaican jerk chicken, Thai stir fry and fried Oreos. Walk off all those calories by strolling the booths selling everything from jewelry to clothing to fine art.

The fair is known for presenting a big centerpiece concert, but this year, the student organizers decided to go in a new direction by bringing in more than 50 artists and musicians to play throughout the fair in four locations across campus. Unchanged is the ever-popular beer garden, where student groups raise money by selling beer at Decker Gardens.

Other Spring Fair highlights include a kids section in front of Gilman Hall featuring toy and book giveaways, crafts, games and carnival attractions like a bounce castle and an obstacle course, and a community outreach and marketplace section for local organizations.

Open until 8 p.m. on Friday, the fair continues through the weekend, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 17.

Coinciding with Spring Fair, the Department of Physics and Astronomy is hosting its annual Physics Fair, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Events will take place in the Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy.

The fair will feature individual and team competitions for local students, as well as a physics-themed scavenger hunt and demonstrations by Johns Hopkins physicists, graduate students and undergraduates. The idea is to bring physics to the community in a fun, accessible way.

The fair started within a program called QuarkNet, organized by the National Science Foundation to encourage university professors working in elementary particle physics research to incorporate high school teachers into their programs. The teachers who became involved suggested that a physics fair would be a good way to connect with students and the public.

Highlights of the event include:

• Professor Extraordinaire Shows, at 12:15 and 4:30 p.m. Professor Peter Armitage and his assistants will give a demonstration that will include fantastic displays, explosions, loud noises and bright lights.

• Elementary-Middle School Science Bowl Competitions, 1:30 p.m. Teams of students in grades 1 through 8 will compete to answer a variety of general science-related questions in a quiz show format. Winning teams receive trophies for their schools.

• High School Science Bowl and Physics Bowl Competitions, 2:15 p.m. Teams of high school students will compete in answering physics- and science-related questions in a quiz show format. Winning teams will receive prizes, such as trophies and books.

• Hopkins Construction Contest, 3:45 p.m. Participants of all ages will have 30 minutes to build a structure according to instructions given that day. Would-be builders can sign up the day of the event.

Throughout the day, other activities—including the making of ice cream using liquid nitrogen, a balloon rocket contest and lectures about the Hubble Space Telescope—will be held. The Morris W. Offit Telescope will be open, allowing visitors to observe sunspots and the activities of the sun’s corona using a special filter, as will several research laboratories.