SPEAKER: Thank you, everybody, for coming on this snowy day, especially to Professor Herbert Dreiner, who made a heroic effort to come here after his plan was cancelled to Ithaca. He was driving up from Newark yesterday. So thank you.
Professor Dreiner got his PhD at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1989. After that, he was a postdoc at [INAUDIBLE], Oxford, and at [? Zurich. ?] Then he was a staff at the [? Radaford ?] Lab in the UK, and he joined the physics department in 2000 at the University of
He is a leading expert in supersymmetric theories beyond the standard model, and especially [INAUDIBLE] [? violation. ?] And our expert is also the author of "The Bible of the Treatment of [INAUDIBLE]," so thank you very much for that. Besides his research, he is also renowned for his outreach efforts, and that's the subject of today's colloquium.
By the way, if you are interested in his supersymmetric research, he will give a seminar tomorrow at 1:30 in 401. Today's colloquium will be on his outreach efforts. And as I have said, he's very well known for that. In fact, he has been awarded the EPS High Energy Physics Outreach Prize in 2009 for his outreach efforts on [INAUDIBLE] physics show, and that's what he will tell us about. So let's welcome Professor Dreiner.
HERBERT DREINER: So thank you very much. It's a great honor to be here. So the seminar tomorrow is in room 401, but you should really say in what building.
I've commuted three, four times between the buildings today, and I still don't know the way. And, OK, today is really a talk, but you're really just here because you want to see some experiments. So that's why I'll just do all the experiments at the end.
No, I'll do some in between, so let me just start. You know, this is a colloquium. And in some sense, I haven't really done any research on outreach. It's just sort of outreach activity, and so that's what I want to talk about.
Some basic questions are, what is outreach? And why do outreach? And what's the most effective outreach? So this sounds a little bit boring maybe, but it's just three slides. So don't worry too much.
So what is physics outreach? It's some kind of communication between a professional physicist and a non-physicist. What else would they talk about? That's supposed to be a joke, so--
So if you've given public talks, you also have experienced the question from left field you that you hadn't thought about before, and it turns out that actually it's a really good question. And so there is often good feedback if you give public talks and you do outreach, also from non-physicists. So who are these professional physicists? They could be a researcher, of course. They could be a university student, actually.
And that's what our activity is mainly about. It's university students doing outreach. We've actually also converted our method so that older high school students can do-- you know, we do these shows for younger high school students. I should say also, in Germany, high school goes from 5th grade to 12th grade. So I should really maybe call it secondary school.
So who are these non-physicists? They can be grownups, obviously, teenagers and kids. And these kids can be anything from 9 to 99.
So that's really all I really have to say about what is physics outreach. So why outreach? I don't know if I should say this, but we all know, I guess, now that there's a lot of ignorance out there. And so this is clearly evident also when you look all the way from Germany, and it's also in Germany. We have an election next year, crossing our fingers.
And anyway, so it's worthwhile to just present the excitement of the latest research. So those of you who are doing research, you're really excited about what you're doing, and it's really worthwhile to communicate that to people outside the field. And so even if you don't have much time for outreach, or you feel like it's maybe not your thing, then if you do have something exciting to talk about research-wise, you should maybe just go out there and talk about it a bit. And just your excitement itself will be infectious.
And also for the people, it's really exciting to see the people who are doing it. Not to disrespect science journalists, but to have the actual researchers talk to you is often even more exciting than to have somebody intermediate. So clearly we want to build support also for our science and for our research. After all, most of us are funded through taxpayers' money.
And we want our field to continue. There are some young kids in the back. Physics is a good career, and so that's recruitment.
And there's also cultural value. All of you have probably been at a party or in a bar or somewhere, and you meet a non-physicist. And you wonder if you should actually tell them you're a physicist or not.
And occasionally, it comes out. You can't hide it. And then there are two answers that I find that you get.
And the first answer is usually, I was really bad in physics in school, if they even had physics in school. Fortunately in Germany, actually most people do have physics in school. And the other answer is, you must be really smart. And the weird thing is, you know, I guess we know that now, that that's not a compliment.
And it's definitely not advantageous for the further development of the evening. And anyway, so if you can get people when they hear the word physics not to immediately shrink back, I think one has already achieved something. And as I've said, I mean, most of us are paid from the public purse, and it's nice to pay something back. Or you might call it pay it forward.
OK, what happened there? I don't know why that was two. Oh, I forgot to change that. OK, so for me personally, I do outreach because I just simply enjoy it.
And I just find it fun. I started doing it when I came to Bonn. And I hadn't really done it before either. I didn't do it as a student.
And I don't know. I've been doing it since then. So I've been in Bonn now for 16 years, and I just simply enjoy it. So I wouldn't want to be otherwise.
What's the most effective outreach? Well, that really depends on what you want to do. So I showed you these various reasons of why to do outreach.
And so depending on which one you want to focus on depends on what is maybe the most effective. The problem is there isn't that much empirical evidence. You know, you do a control group. I mean, who has the time to watch some boring experiments instead of some interesting ones?
And so the main feedback you basically get if you do these shows regularly is, do people come back or not? But still, even if they come back, they might be coming back for the wrong reasons. So you don't really know how much you've changed their outlook on physics and stuff.
So we've been doing this, as I said for 15-- no, I haven't said that. We've been doing it for 15 years now. We started and had our first show in 2002. And we've had trial and error, tried various things, and let me just basically describe to you what we do.
If you enjoy doing outreach, you should maybe make it part of your life. And what I want to argue for also is that you can make it part of your education program, and not just as a university. I don't know if there are any high school teachers here. You can also do this in a high school.
In Germany, it's very popular to have science slams. You might know poetry slams. And so a science slam is you do science instead of poetry. You have 10 minutes, and the audience decides by clapping who won. I did a science slam on Fukushima, believe it or not.
So this is just before the hydrogen explodes. Obviously, there's helium in the balloons, so don't worry. OK, so I want to give some personal answers, just what I've been doing, and hopefully or maybe that's of interest to you. And I'm happy also to talk afterwards, to hear what your experiences are. I already talked to somebody over coffee. Ah, there he is.
OK, so here's the outline of my talk. I'll tell you briefly where I come from and how I got into this, and then I want to explain how the Bonn show works. And we've been able to expand on this show because we have a new group of students every year. And so then these students still have time afterwards, and we can do more advanced things with them. And then I want to specifically focus a little bit on fifth show that we've done on particle physics, which is a huge challenge.
So it's fairly easy to do a show on classical physics with lots of bang and things moving and flying around. In particle physics, it's a bit more difficult because obviously it's more abstract. We have a new particle physics show which we developed 2 and 1/2 years ago with which we've been touring through Europe.
OK, so here, if you want some more information, some literature, stuff I've written about this, and most recently-- is there a pointer? Oh, yeah, thanks. And there's this last one, which I forgot to add here also. It's on the archive now. And you are the home of the archive here.
So it came out in June this year. It's 110 pages, and it's about this particle physics show. And there's 25 live experiments that we do in the show, and they are all described in detail in here. And we have embedded the show in a play, and the script of the play is also in here.
OK, there's a blog on The Guardian which a friend of mine, Jon Butterworth, writes. And there are some more entertaining articles, lighthearted articles. Most interesting maybe is the last one from just October. I'll mention briefly in the end that we went to China in March with our show.
Oh, and I forgot to change the location. Sorry. So the show we have is for kids and families. It's supposed to be fun and educational, and this was still the days where a drone was something fun and interesting.
This is part of the Bonn physics lecture hall. This, by the way, is an amazing lecture hall, I should say. And I learned that it was renovated in 1989, which is unbelievable that it's still in such amazing shape. And it's just a really nice space. It would be great to do shows, or it is great to do shows here.
This is the most important point of what I want to talk about, is that our show is performed by students, so not by me. And there's another person I'll mention in a minute who I organized the show with, and these are two physics students. And they were both also on the poster with the flour explosion.
And this is a fun experiment. It's just a board that goes up and down through this machine. And then you put a big pile of jello on here. And if you hit the right frequency, the jello seems to come alive, and then it kind of jumps all over the place.
Anyway, it's the Bonn University physics students that do the show. So in that sense, for me as a professor, it's an education project. So my first target group are these students.
Here's the personal history. So I was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Actually the hospital was in Pittsfield. There's no hospital in Williamstown.
And my dad did not work at Williams College. Well, he did work there, but it was not his main job. He taught there part time, just for fun.
He was a physicist in a research lab in North Adams, which is where they have this big museum now, modern art museum, actually in the factory halls of the company he used to work for. And he taught physics part time at Williams College, and they have a big demo collection, demo experiments. And as a kid, my dad often prepared on the weekends his life lab course or whatever that he was teaching, and I got to join him and play around.
And I guess that's where I started to enjoy physics. So in Bonn, we also have a very large demo collection. You have a wonderful collection also here, behind here. So I don't know if you want to let students in there or not, but I strongly encourage you to do it. They do need supervision, otherwise they might kill themselves. But it is worthwhile.
How did I get about starting this show in Bonn? Well, as [? Shabbat ?] mentioned, I went to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I started there in 1984.
In the '70s already, there was somebody called Professor [INAUDIBLE]. He's still there. He's retired now, but he's still doing shows. And he does these Chemistry is Fun lectures.
And Professor Clint Sprong, who is a plasma physicist from the University of Wisconsin, experimental, he translated this idea into physics. And he basically did these shows with some assistance from his students. But you can see he kind of acted. He was something like a magician or a circus director.
And he still does this. He's written a nice book, actually, also, with lots of demo experiments in it. So I went to grad school it turns out exactly when he started. That was just a coincidence.
And I never took part in the show, but I went to them and watched them. And so since then, this was kind of milling in my head. I should say, also, I was in the high school drama group. I was not very good.
I only had some small parts, but it was kind of fun being on stage. And so at some point, I decided when I had my first teaching position in Bonn, I decided it was too much work to do all this by myself. So in 2001, I was teaching classical mechanics. At the time, that was a third-semester class.
Our semesters go from October until early February. And before Christmas, I asked the students. I explained to them what the idea was and whether they wanted to do this. And 35 students signed up.
And after 10 months, about 15 students remained. And in November 2002, we put on our first show. So it took us 11 months to prepare.
So this is very important. I started the show with Michael Kortmann. We still do this together. And he takes care of our demo collection, just like Jenny here. And I could not have done this without him.
I'm a theorist, I should say, and he's extremely experienced. He has the training as a high-voltage electrician. He actually worked for the German train company for a while. His father was a carpenter, a cabinet maker. And so, anyway, he's a wizard.
So we've been doing this together, and in 2009 Sascha joined. The two of them take care of the demo collection in Bonn. Here's our demo collection.
These are all the comments. Here are some photos. This is kind of irrelevant for you. But I've been in some places, for example, Oxford University, where I actually used to live for quite a while, and they basically have zero demo experiments. I do not know how they teach their elementary classes.
But anyway, so it varies strongly how much stuff people have. Then just to mention also Ewald Paul. Some of you might know him. He's an experimentalist. He was on the Zeus collaboration. He's also now retired.
But he's joined the physics show in 2006. And we show live experiments with radioactivity, and there's a lot of regulations if you do that. And he takes care of all of that, which is why he has this t-shirt. And so he's our radioactive man.
OK, so maybe I've already talked a bit too much, and the kids in the back are getting bored. So maybe I'll show a few experiments, and then we'll get back to the talk. So this is one of my favorite experiments because it's so simple.
This is just a wooden board. These are aluminum rails. This is a magnet, and it does nothing here. But on these steel balls, it does something.
OK, so this is a magnet. You can really see that this is aluminum, and these are not magnetic. OK, the rails are flat and parallel, both of them. And just this one is narrow, and this one is wide. That's the only difference.
So I'll start with the narrow one in the back and just collide the balls. And they roll together, and they fly apart again. So now we go on to the wide rails. Oh, sorry. You mean up here? OK, I need extra time now at the end.
OK, the distortion is now such that they look the same width, don't they? Well, which one is the wide one? What does that mean? What is this one?
HERBERT DREINER: Oh, OK, very good, so that was it. OK, we'll do that again. So they collide, and they go apart. And then we do the same thing on the wide one, OK.
Now the problem is most of you are physicists, or it's not a problem actually. That means I don't have to explain the experiment. I promise I'll explain all experiments at the end. I should just mention that this has something to do with your romantic life, and so it's very important to get on the right track.
OK, excuse the pun. Maybe another simple experiment. Maybe [? Chava ?] can help me. We'll see. Maybe I'll go to the camera again.
This is just a wooden thing, kind of a cylinder. But this is a real cylinder. Can you see that? Yes, and it's kind of conical on the top. And it fits more or less exactly in there.
There's somebody there who's explaining it to his neighbor. That's good, the previous experiment, very good. And the question is now, can you get out the middle one without moving the outer one?
Obviously if you move it, you can just go like that, OK. Now if I just hold this, it's supposed to be built such that if you're not a guitarist, you shouldn't be able to get it out with your fingernail. So who has the answer? Where are the engineers?
You want to blow straight down. It just kind of wiggles. Across it, at the top? Yeah, OK, so for the physicists, that's just, you know, Bernoulli.
OK, maybe one more experiment, then I'll continue. So as you heard, I live in Germany, and my parents are actually German. So I'm a dual citizen, which might come in handy.
And anyway, for the younger people, there used to be two Germanies. And so I was recently actually in Amsterdam. I was talking to some students there, and they were not aware that-- well, they thought maybe there might have been two Germanies. But they weren't aware that they had two different currencies, for example.
There used to be a fence between East and West Germany. And it turns out, they were more different than you might think, the countries. And so I used to actually-- [? I was telling this to Chava. ?] And I went to Budapest when I was 16, 17, and it was on a school trip for 12 days to Budapest. You haven't heard of that around here either, have you?
And anyway, I met some people from East Germany. And after that, after '79, I visited them every year at least once. So I've been to East Germany regularly, and this is one of the things I brought back.
This is just a piece of wood, which some of you might know. And if you turn it to the left-- oh. I haven't tried it on this table. OK, let's hope it works.
So if I turn it to the left, it spins nicely. And if I turn it to the right, it doesn't like that. So as you saw, it likes to turn to the left. This is obviously the piece of wood from East Germany.
OK, so this one here is from West Germany, and this one spins nicely to the right. There, OK, and if you turn it to the left, it doesn't like that at all. OK, but now surprisingly, since 1989, if you now go to East Germany, and you cut down a tree, and you do this, it doesn't work anymore. As I said, I'll explain the experiments at the end, just to keep your mind busy.
So that was just an interlude. As in life, in Bonn, we didn't start with a grand scheme or philosophy. I didn't sit down. How would you do one of these things? So I basically started this, and I realized, oh, my God. This is going to eat up all my time.
So I delegated as much as possible to the students, and I just hoped that they'll take care of it. And that actually turned out to be true because it turned out to be the magical insight. But I didn't plan that at all.
So because I left them to their own devices, it became their show, and they identified with it. And they made it actually into what it is. The format grew by coincidence, lack of time, meeting deadlines, et cetera.
But the three main points-- we've been doing this now for 15 years-- are, I already mentioned, we strongly involve the students. We show lots of live experiments, and we explain them, which I haven't done. And-- this I haven't mentioned yet-- we embed everything in a storyline.
Now not everybody agrees with this. A lot of people want to do, like, straight physics. As I said, we do explain all the experiments. And it turns out if you have a storyline, the same experiment in a different storyline gives you a completely different perspective on it. So we can actually do the same experiment a year or two later, and nobody notices.
This is the first group. This is from 2002. This is Michael Kortmann, who looked much younger back then, just like I did. This was a gift to me, so I'm not on this photo.
And one interesting thing is, I've been asked, you know, measure of success. These were our second-year student. At the end of their second year, they did this show, or at the beginning of their third year, undergrad. And all of them got a PhD in physics, except one, and she's right here.
And she actually was a meteorology student. So in Bonn, the first two years, physics and meteorology, they overlap a lot. And so she was part of the physics show.
She got her degree in meteorology, diplom, which is kind of equivalent to a master's. And she actually went then and founded a salsa school in Bonn, which has been very successful. And so I consider that a success as well. So she's a successful salsa teacher and dancer.
And these two are the only two that got their PhD with me, and these two have been a couple since then. And they met through the physics show. These two are also a couple and have kids, also met through the physics show. And these two are also a couple.
So I was asked when I gave this talk in [? Osterreich ?] last week whether one has to be single if you want to join the physics show. As it turns out, most people are single when they're 21. We present entertaining and educational experiments for kids, well, 10 to 99, 9 to 99.
The students develop and present the show. I basically go to, like, the first meeting. You know, we tell them how it works. And actually some of the more senior students take part, and then very soon I leave.
And because people notice this also when you do seminars, some people do seminars without the professor there, so just the students. And this also works with the physics show. If you leave, they become much more uninhibited and more creative. And anyway, that just turns out to work.
They get to apply their physics and other knowledge very early. We've had people who can play the cello, who can, you know, speak French and do Taekwondo and somehow involve this in the show. And they do this for fun and in their free time.
So we've now managed that they get it on their transcripts, but they don't get any credit points for it. And so we've debated this a lot. And we feel or think maybe we might get the wrong people if we do it for credit, or the wrong motivation, maybe not the wrong people. That's not the right thing to say.
So as I said, the target group of our physics show are the university physics students. Originally, we did a new show every year. At the end of their second year, the students would put on a show. And then a year later, the next students, at the end of their second year, were put on a new, different show.
We were developing a new show every year, but we were also training 20, 25 new students every year in outreach. So we do three performances, usually in September. And we once did four, but that was just too exhausting, and then we repeat them in March.
Anyway, we've now changed to only do a new show every two years. So right now, we're in a gap year. We choose a theme or a story for the new show. I'll tell you the stories in a minute. And then we choose experiments from the extensive collection that I showed you, or we build new ones.
And so here, for example, when the tsunami catastrophe happened in the Indian Ocean, we actually built this tsunami pool, or [GERMAN] I would say in German. And you can do surface waves or move a whole column, and then this is the beach basically. And you can see the different strength of the wave coming. And it's pretty, you know, dramatic.
And this is an experiment a lot of you might know, but it's not the one I want to show you. It's actually this one. And so these are magnets. These are all little magnets.
And then on top of these magnets, you can float a superconductor, which you can make look like a German from an old German train. And you probably know this experiment also. And this is one of experiments where you can at least show some quantum mechanics effects. We haven't found a good way of explaining this in the show, unfortunately.
OK, I'm not sure what the next slide is. That's why I don't want to give it away. So here's another experiment.
Can you all see this? This is an aquarium. Is that OK, Jenny? Thanks. Hi, Mom.
I brought this from Germany. And unfortunately, we have this in Germany also. It's Coca-Cola. And if you put this Coca-Cola can in here, it sinks.
OK, now in Germany, we also have Diet Coke. And it turns out, though, Diet Coke-- can you see that? So it's called Coke Light in German, Diet Coke, OK.
Now you know what's going to happen. OK, so Coke Light, as the name says, floats. Now this one I'll explain right away.
First of all, they both taste horrible my opinion. And the Coca-Cola has sugar in it, and it has lots of sugar in it. And you can actually show. If you take an empty bottle and just put the amount of sugar in it, it's pretty shocking.
And the Diet Coke doesn't have sugar in it. It has sweetener in it, NutraSweet or whatever. And it turns out that the taste buds that we have react more strongly per milligram to sweetener than to sugar, so you need less.
OK, they're both macromolecules, so they're heavy or whatever. But you just have less in this one than you do in this one, so that's why this one is lighter. The fact that it floats is a coincidence, and it actually doesn't work everywhere.
So I was in January-- where is [? Juhov? ?] There he is. So [? Juhov ?] is strong enough to listen to this talk twice. He heard this talk in January in Israel.
When I went to Israel on the airplane, I had these in my bag. And somehow, they didn't treat my suitcase very nicely, and I had lots of Coca-Cola in my bag. And so I went to the store in Israel. It's actually also called Coke Light there, unsurprisingly.
Anyway, I bought some Coke Light and some Coke, and it doesn't work in Israel. It has to do also with what material they use for the can, which is different in many countries. And Jenny was telling me, apparently with the American cans, it's not as dramatic as with the German cans, which is also surprising.
OK, finally, we also have Coke Zero in Germany. So if you put Coke Zero in it is completely true to name. Apparently, Coke Zero also tastes horrible.
OK, so I couldn't remember if I took the photo out, oh. So we have this superconducting train. So the train would-- sorry?
HERBERT DREINER: OK.
HERBERT DREINER: OK, I don't have any sweets or candies, but three points for you. So apparently, you were not distracted by your laptop, very good.
So, OK, maybe for the kids in the back, yes, this can is empty. I should mention also this was Paul Ginsparg. Paul probably doesn't know this, but I met him in--
PAUL GINSPARG: Cargese.
HERBERT DREINER: Cargese, oh, he does remember, very good. So this is a physics summer school in Corsica, right on the beach. And if you want, you can you actually camp there at the site. They don't have warm water, which is why I stopped shaving.
Anyway, so we were actually neighbors in our tents. And Paul, I think, at 5:00 in the morning, or 6:00-- I can't remember-- used to go jogging, and right by my tent, so fond memories. But it's empty, OK? It was a joke.
We actually also built one where the track goes upside down. We then just do it with the wafer, or the chip. That actually then floats upside down from the track, also. And it does lose some energy, just from air friction, and so we give it a little boost right here with a burst of air when it flies by. And then it can fly around five or six times before it warms up and doesn't work anymore.
OK, here's another experiment that we built, which is really mainly for fun. These are some special aluminum foil, which is very light. And we filled it with a mixture of nitrogen and helium to give it more or less zero gravity. Oh, I'm in the camera there.
And the front cigar has a propeller which is horizontal in the front and two vertical ones on the side, and then you can fly with this thing around in the lecture hall. So that's kind of cool. Oh, they're married.
And so here you see it flying around. This is actually in an art museum in Cologne, and they forgot to do proper advertising, which they did for the next day. And then it was actually full. So advertisement is very important.
Here's the Coke. These are the old cans. They also work.
The target group of the physics show are the university physics students here. We like to do a group photo every year. Here's a collection.
Since 2002, we've done 12 groups. We've skipped a few years. So we have about 250 students we've trained in outreach activities. We filled-- our lecture hall is a little bit bigger. It's 550 people. So people do come back.
For me, it's a unique and wonderful interaction with the students. And as I said, I also get to claim the alumni connection. And [? Shaba ?] also mentioned this prize, which is right here. And as I said, Michael Kortmann got one, too.
It's actually kind of funny. They gave me this in a frame, and it's askew, which is kind of weird from a physics society. So I actually scanned it, and I had to rotate it a little bit to make it look OK.
This is our lecture hall, which we like. And we like to interact with the audience during the show. The show is typically about two hours long. We do a break in the middle. One of the reasons is because we have to change the experiments on stage, which takes time. And then we have a foyer outside which is fairly large, where we set up experiments where the kids can do hands-on stuff.
And then we have a party afterwards, so this is me right there. And this is actually not so easy to set up, a circle like that. As I said, the show takes about two hours, and we split the show into typically four sections, many experiments.
We have two main characters usually that go through the show. They meet other people. And so by now, we have 10, 12 speaking parts in a show. Storylines have been "The Odyssey" through physics. This is the German "Sesame Street" theme, time travel, and then the latest one was Sherlock Holmes, inspired, of course, by the latest BBC series. So here this is Sherlock Holmes, and this is Watson. And I'm right there. This is Luigi.
About these storylines which I haven't said so much about yet, we started using them in 2003, and we didn't do it in the beginning. And the students really like the storylines because it's easier to put jokes in the storyline and stuff. And so all I can say is that we find it works. If you don't want to do storylines, that's fine. That's up to you.
We've had very good experience with it. And there's an organization in Europe which is called Euro Science Fun. It used to be called Euro Physics Fun, but they actually allowed some chemists to join. No, so we're glad to have some chemists in there as well.
This is mainly a group of people that do physics shows all over Europe, and they meet once a year. This is the main activity. This year, the meeting was in Iceland, and next year it's actually going to be in Bonn.
Most people in Euro Science Fun now also do storylines, depending on what kind of show they do. It holds people's attentions, also the kids. And you shouldn't worry too much about your acting skills. The demo experiments should really dominate. And it turns out, actually, that with a little bit of guidance people can actually be pretty decent on stage.
So about funding, the first few years we did this out of our lecture hall budget. And, of course, Michael Kortmann put in a lot of hours, so that's funding also. And now we get support through the department, about 3,000 euros per year.
In the beginning, when I came to Germany, the funding agencies kind of frowned upon outreach. And this has completely flipped now. Now in Germany they have a lot of these big funding projects where groups from several universities have to get together. And they now actually specifically ask, what are you doing in terms of outreach?
We actually joined this CRC, which is between Bonn, Julich-- Julich is a national lab not far from Bonn-- and Munich and then also Beijing, China. And as part of this, we were also able to give Michael a salary increase. Some extra activities, as I said, these students, after their second year, they do this show.
Well, then the next year, sort of two years after that, it's a different group. But a lot of them like to continue, and so we have this large group of students in Bonn who enjoy doing outreach stuff. And we've been able to do lots of different things, and I just want to highlight a few of them.
OK, so we do a few more experiments. This is, you know, motivation. So for this, I do need you, [? Shaba. ?] Please stand up. This is [? Shaba ?] [? Shaki. ?] I hope you know him.
Please give him a hand. I'm going to give you this, and I'm going to take this one. Don't worry. It's closed. So we're both going to try to inflate this.
But we're going to do it back to back. And I'm going to count to three, and then we can start. So turn around. Don't start yet. One, two, three.
OK, so I didn't cheat. Let me just show you what I did. If you open it like this, and you just blow once-- no, no, no. You have to blow a little bit above it. Not like this, but in, but you have to be a little bit away. There you go, OK.
What's actually happening here, and you can test this yourself, is that most of the air-- you produce a vortex. You might know people used to smoke. They used to make these smoke rings. These vortices are fairly stable. But it turns out most of the air that's being transported is not coming, in this case, from your mouth, but it's actually from the outside.
That's why you have to hold it a little bit away to let the air get in. And you can test this. If you open your mouth wide and blow against your hand, it's actually pretty warm, close to body temperature. If you do it out here, and just to get there, you'll usually make a smaller mouth. You can feel it, but it's actually cool, or much cooler.
The reason is that the air that's reaching your hand is coming from here and not from your mouth. You just produce a little bit of air here, and you drag along a lot of air there. Now when I was in Israel, there was actually somebody who had been to Finland.
And if you do this in a Finnish sauna, it's the other way around, because the air in the Finnish sauna is hotter than the air in your body. It can be, you know, 90 degrees in the sauna, and so you'll get 90 degrees here right. But here you'll get 37-- Celsius, Celsius.
This is the experiment-- let me just show it to you at least-- that we weren't allowed to do. That was the one on the photos. We fill this with flour. You blow here. You produce a cloud of baking flour. And you hold a torch here, and you get a nice flame.
And for me at least this has some interest because my grandfather actually had a flour mill. And so my dad grew up in a flour mill. And this is actually something in flour mills, or in grain silos and stuff, that you have to worry about. But you're not allowed to do that in Cornell.
Here is some of the other stuff that we did. Oh, just a brief mention, so we have a Facebook page. Facebook only gives you statistics for the last two years. And, oh, you can't see it really. Anyway, the curve is right here.
Here's the scale-- 300, 500, 700. So we're very close to 700. Actually, I didn't check the last few days. And where these jumps are, that's when we did a show.
Anyway, we reach about 700 people via our Facebook page. And so when we do a public lecture or any other outreach activity now, we post it on our Facebook page, and it's easy to reach a lot of people that way. We've done a lot of travel. It's not easy to travel with a physics show.
We have two vans full of equipment when we do our big show. We have a 17-seater bus for people. So when we travel, we travel with about 20 people.
First of all, if you stay overnight that costs a lot of money. 3 days, that's 60 overnights right away. Fortunately, overnights are cheaper in Germany than in America. And here are some of the places we've been.
For us very nice is the Deutsches Museum in Munich, which is, I think, at least one of the largest science and technology museums in the world. And we've been there three times, and we're going again next year in the spring. And we've also been abroad. The first time was [? CERN, ?] 2010, and there still we only had two people speaking in the show. And we were able to do it in French.
They wanted us to. I don't think I would do that again. There are so many English-speaking people in Geneva. I'll get back to that. We developed a new particle physics show at the end of 2013. And in March 2014, we went to Oxford in London.
And with the same show, we went to Padua and Trieste in the last year. And this year, we went to Copenhagen, and I forgot to add there [? Odenzurg ?] also in Denmark. This is the Deutsches Museum in Munich.
Unfortunately, it's a flat floor. It's much nicer when you have a raised stage. And it's a bit of a hall of fame of science and technology. So here, for example, is Gauss. And there are other famous people there, which you can see here.
So here is Leonardo da Vinci, Otto Hahn, Einstein, and Heisenberg. And now very surprisingly, they're all Boston Red Sox fans. OK, and not just them, also Kepler, Meitner, and Copernicus, even though there were no Red Sox back then, he was a man with foresight.
And this is actually not from Munich. There's a Galileo museum in Florence, and I was there last year. And I was very surprised to find that he was also wearing it. There was fortunately no camera in this room, and I was fairly quick. He's looking a bit serious.
But these are all physicists. Oh, so this is how he did it actually. They left us alone in the room with a big ladder, and you should never do that.
So these were all physicists. Now French philosophers took this picture, like, three weeks ago in Amsterdam. There's a museum called the [INAUDIBLE] Museum, which is a spin-off of the museum in Saint Petersburg. And there were these three statues, busts, of French philosophers.
And now the question is, who's who? Sorry?
AUDIENCE: Voltaire Voltaire.
HERBERT DREINER: Voltaire, OK, you've been to [INAUDIBLE]. Outside [? CERN, ?] there's a Voltaire statue. So this is true. This is Voltaire. Sorry? You think this is Sartre?
No, so this was an exhibition, I should say. And Catherine the Great, she had correspondence with these three people. And as far as I know, she had no correspondence with Sartre. Descartes is also wrong.
Yeah, Rousseau, which one? You said that. Just a name, namedropping, OK, so this is Rousseau. And this is [? Dida ?] [? Hall, ?] the guy from the encyclopedia.
OK, pop quiz, forgot the clickers. This is the group. We went to [? Daisy. ?] So a bit of costume, we usually employ costumes now also on stage.
So that was the travel part. Another spin-off project was high schools. Oh, let me just briefly mention this. We did this twice.
And we brought local high school students into Bonn University. And with the experiments we have, we train them, first of all, to understand the experiment, then how to use it, and to show it, to demonstrate it. After we'd done that, we shipped all the experiments to the school in Bonn, so it's not that big of a deal. And then they put on a show for their younger fellow students, and that worked very well. So that's why I'm saying this also works with high school students.
I should also say-- I didn't mention this-- that I think this idea scales. So if the idea of a two-hour show scares you-- it's too much time-- you can also just do a half-hour show or something. You do half-hour shows, right?
So that works very well also if you embed it in some other occasion or event, an open day or something. Even in a half hour, you can construct a very short story or some TV show or something. But here are just some pictures. Ah, we should do that now.
Sorry, the picture was already there. This is an experiment which is fairly well known. And I hope it works now and it hasn't dried out.
I don't know if you saw this before. The light goes out. This is just a pickle. It turns out it's a kosher pickle. And it's hooked up to normal [? mains ?] voltage.
And we can go from zero to full power here, and let's just do that. Then let's see what happens. There you go. OK, I'm going to stop because it starts smelling.
The pickle starts glowing, so it's called a glowing pickle, surprisingly. And I hope you could see that it was glowing in orange. So why orange?
HERBERT DREINER: Syracuse. OK, did somebody say sodium?
So pickles have salt in it, and that's the important thing here. And so there's, of course, lots of water in there. So you get a current. It heats up. And at some point, you get enough for discharge. And it does smell pretty bad, though.
Let me see if I can touch this now. It goes kind of limp then also. In Germany, we also can do this with a pear, so the fruit, pear. And you take a bite out of it. And then instead of just this one, you have two, and you have the voltage between the two.
And in Germany, the old, conventional light bulb, incandescent light bulb, is called a [GERMAN], which is a glowing pear. OK, and then you can do the same thing with a pear. And then you can also do this with a dog. Oh, Jesus, we didn't try this one.
We're going to do this a little bit Christmas-y, or holiday. Holiday, sorry. OK, can you do the lights again, please? So the sausage does not actually start to glow. Oh, I forgot to turn it on.
But you can actually show that there's a current going through the sausage by hooking up these nice, little lights. And then you can hear. It's cooking actually. At least with the German [GERMAN] hot dog, actually at some point it splits open.
You can hear it now also.
A bit of a discharge there. Oh, yeah, OK. Can you do the camera? Sorry, I don't mean to-- so this is our magic cup.
I have here just some plain water. And if you, especially the kids in the back-- oh, they're on their laptop. If you draw a picture when you're a kid, also if you're a grownup, you often draw the water blue. OK, we all know that water is not blue. I guess it's because of the sky.
But the cup thinks that water is blue, and it's a smart cup. Sorry, I'll put the cup down again. So if you put the water into the cup, the cup is blue.
OK, now you say the cup was blue beforehand. That's true. But still, it's blue.
Now we also have in our hidden cabinet some milk. This I did not bring from Germany. I don't even know if you're allowed to bring in milk.
Milk is obviously white. And so we put in some milk, and then shake well, it says. It has to think about it for a while.
And there's our logo. I don't know if you've noticed. The logo is a cat, but it's an H and a nu, pretty clever. We actually kind of borrowed this from a student group in-- was it Leningrad? I don't know. Anyway, Saint Petersburg? They said we could use this. And we kind of like it.
So it's white now, you can see. Now this is ice, and ice is water. So I want to see if you can see this. So locally, it turns blue again.
OK, but if you take it away, then it's, aw, forget the water. I'm milk. OK, now this also works with orange juice, but I forgot to bring the orange juice. That was a joke.
I'll explain that one at the end also. I have done almost, oh, yeah, two more experiments. So let me do one on gravity.
You can see this? This is a German mineral water bottle. I'll take the label off, No hidden advertising. There's a balloon inside.
And now I'm just going to inflate the balloon. Now with gravity, it's open at the top. If you turn it around, the air falls out, OK?
Now you notice I was holding it in my right hand. Now if you put it in your left hand, it's the other way around. Now how can that be? I'll explain at the end.
So here you see our tsunami thing. These are the high school students. This is me with some university students that helped out in training these kids. So that was a lot of fun. We did this, as I said twice, so it's a lot of work.
But basically, there are two schools actually in Bonn, also one just outside of Bonn. And they do develop their own experiments. These are their teachers. And they actually just won a prize from the German Physical Society last year for this initiative that they've been doing since 2001.
They've just been doing it just as long as we have. So you can do this also in schools with kids. They can build their own stuff. And there are lots of experiments on YouTube and stuff and so on.
OK, I'm going to run a little bit over time. I'm sorry. But in Germany at least, you're allowed to do that if you showed an experiment. So particle physics show, that's something I think that we're actually kind of unique for.
I'm a particle physicist, and I do shows. Anyway, so we first did this in 2004. We did it more or less as a lecture. And when CERN turned 50 in spring 2008, we modified this show and did it more showy.
BMBF is one of the German funding agencies, mainly for the high-energy experimental physicists, among other things. And they organize a national exhibit in Berlin in a subway station just in front of Angela Merkel's permanent residence. These are big photos of LHC stuff.
We had a cabinet where we put the particles as we introduced them so that people could more easily remember. Oh, I forgot to-- so if you put the water back in it turns blue. This is a very nice experiment, If you take a wine glass. So you have a wine glass, where it has the cup in the top, and then it has the stem underneath, which goes a bit like this.
You cut off here. You throw away the cup. You just have the stem, and then you put it horizontally. And then you take a laser. And the curvature of the glass corresponds to 1 over R potential.
I mean, you can actually make this out of Plexiglas or something if you have the exact right shape. So that's right there. This is just to focus the whole stuff. And what's on the screen there is shown up there. And you actually get an Einstein ring.
You're supposed to go, wow. Wow, OK. And if you go off axis, then the ring vanishes, and you just get two smudges in the top and the bottom. And so that actually works very nicely.
This is just an obvious experiment for an expansion. We put the galaxies on here in paper and some wavelengths. And you can buy balloons which get actually pretty big before they explode. And you hook it up to some pressurized air.
You fill it beforehand with confetti. This would be great here. You can hang in the middle over the audience, which is perfect. So that was the show in Berlin.
Then as I said, a few years ago we got this large grant. This is the part just for outreach, not for the whole grant. That grant is millions. So we developed a new show, this time with a storyline.
This involves time travel through history of particle physics. The target group is slightly older kids. This is just the storyline. We have a prologue where questions come up. Then they time travel back to visit Manchester in the UK and visit Rutherford and Geiger. We have to include the German here.
Then they go to Berkeley and visit Lawrence and learn about accelerators. Then they go to DESY and Sau Lan Wu, of course, from Wisconsin. And in 2012, then they end up in the LHC tunnel where then the Higgs is produced.
I have one experiment which I can show you from the show, which is just an analogy. We do often work by analogy. And I have two films that I want to show also.
This is just an aluminum tube. These are the same magnets from before. It's not magnetic. Where'd it go? I just had it. Ah, here, it looked like it was part of the laser pointer.
This is a piece of brass, which is also not magnetic. And it just fits in the tube, and the tube is hollow. This is our Higgs field by the analogy. This is a massless particle. It does not interact with the tube. The cup is just here so the thing doesn't fly away.
I let go, and it flies into the cup. And it flies straight through, and it bounces out. Now you take the magnet, which also just fits nicely. It doesn't rub or anything. And you let go, and it takes a while.
So this interacts with the tube, in this case, what we call the Higgs field. And it doesn't fly at the speed of light like the other one because it can't because it has mass. And it flies nice and slowly.
The true explanations, of course, are eddy currents. And so as you're dropping this, you create eddy currents, which cost you energy. And therefore, it can't fall so rapidly.
If you put a slit in the tube-- you probably know this-- the eddy currents can't close. And then it flies straight through. This is just something we do, though, by analogy.
Here is the prologue. Some of you might know Haribo. Haribo actually comes from Bonn, so this is the only advertisement I want to do in this talk. And Haribo stands for Hans Riegel, Bonn.
That's why it's called Haribo. And it was from the 1930s or late '20s, and they're in Bonn. They still are successful.
Anyway, so this is [INAUDIBLE]. Some of you might know him. It turns out he's a very good actor. He's mainly interested in Haribo. And this is [? Micah. ?] She's an experimentalist on [? Atlas. ?] And she's more interested in the big questions of the universe and stuff.
That's how the story starts. He's mainly worried about where his mass comes from, and he's pretty sure it comes from Haribo. Here's an experiment. I apologize that I am going a bit over here. Oops.
- So welcome here at Bonn to our experimental setup. This is [? Nicky. ?] He is a theory student here in Bonn. And I'm Herbie. And also, hello, Herbie, in Aspen.
HERBERT DREINER: Our show was in Aspen.
- And what we have here are two metal bars, which are bent apart, sometimes also called Jacob's ladder. And there's a small gap in between here, which you can maybe see better if I put this white sheet of paper in between.
HERBERT DREINER: This is an experiment from the show.
- This is connected.
HERBERT DREINER: You'll see in a moment why I didn't bring it along.
- And I'm going to turn this a bit so I can work here better. And then I'm going to take just some standard matches.
HERBERT DREINER: It's a bit slow. Sorry.
- And light the match, and hold it underneath this gap. [? Nicky ?] has turned on the power supply. And you can see that when the match comes underneath, there's a discharge. And the lightning heats up the air. The hot air rises.
But at some point, it's so far apart that it can't maintain the current anymore. In the match itself there are ions from the hot air. And the ions make the air conducting, and they enable the lightning to discharge.
OK, now we want to create ions in a different way. We take this radioactive source. The radioactive probe is right here at the tip. And we're going to just do the same thing and hold it close by.
And you can see again, the air is made conductive. And there's a lightning discharge across the metal bars. Thank you.
HERBERT DREINER: OK, so that's an actual particle physics detector that, depending on where you are, you're allowed to do on stage. And it's actually a problem now in Germany also because this probe is kind of naked at the tip. And now you have to enclose it, often with a shield in front. And then at some point, the experiment just doesn't work anymore because it's not strong enough. Just maybe one other experiment while we're here.
HERBERT DREINER: This is just 30 seconds. So this became a YouTube hit with 6 or 7 million hits.
HERBERT DREINER: There's the bottle. Sulfur hexaflouride is in the aquarium. For those who aren't physicists yet, or chemists, that's a gas made of sulfur and fluoride. And it's heavier than air, but it's transparent.
And it's just dense enough so that this very light boat can float on it. And it's important if you do this experiment that you-- this stuff unfortunately expensive. It costs, like, 450 euros per bottle. So if you want to save money, and you just fill the aquarium to here, it doesn't work.
Anyone know why it doesn't work? Is there anyone still awake? OK, it turns out actually, the guy at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, that's what he was doing.
I was visiting him. And then, anyway, if you fill it up to here, and you put the boat, and the boat displaces the gas, then the gas goes into the boat. Once you know, it's obvious. Then it doesn't float.
But if you fill it to the top, you put the boat. And it displaces the gas, and the gas flows over the edge. And you can actually take liquid nitrogen and just put a bit here on top. And then you can see the edge, where it is between the sulfur hexaflouride and the air. I'll add one more experiment. Sorry. I apologize.
- Hello, Manchester. Hello, America. I hope you're having a very good time. What we have here is a model for a linear accelerator, this accelerator.
HERBERT DREINER: Actually, I can turn off the sound and just explain quickly. This is an accelerator. These are metal strips, and they're charged by this Wimshurst machine, which is a 19th-century static electricity thing.
One side here is positive. The other side is negative, so that the strips alternate between positive and negative. And here are two Styrofoam balls, covered with graphite.
Then you put them inside. And this is actually a linear accelerator that you can also do on stage. Then you crank the machine. In the beginning, we didn't have these little ramps at the end, and the balls immediately jumped out.
This is not exactly like an accelerator, obviously. The reason this works is that every time one of these balls hits one of these strips-- let's say a positive one-- the ball becomes positive. And then it's repelled by the strip it's on, and it's attracted to the neighboring one. And so it keeps changing its charge. OK, electrons and protons tend not to do that.
OK, where's my talk now? I'm always done. Oh, this was another experiment we did.
This is a Geiger counter. And have a beta plus and a beta minus source. This is a strong magnet, and they get bent the opposite ways. So you can show anti-matter on stage.
Here is that accelerator I just showed you. There it is. And here is a mechanical analog where you actually change the gravitational energy of the ball as it rolls by. So you can raise and lower these. And you have to do it in sync, otherwise it doesn't work. Here's actually a circular version of the linear one I just showed you.
This is a collision. This blue thing is the Higgs field. This is the Higgs boson. Oh, this is the last experiment. I'll explain.
This is a metal tube which is hollow. It's also called a vacuum cannon, and here's a vacuum pump, which is hooked up here. And I still haven't corrected this. In Wikipedia, it's falsely stated that this was invented in about 2000 or so by a guy, I think, in Princeton who put it in his book.
It's actually from the 17th century, from Germany, of course. And this guy, von Guericke, you know, with the horses and the hemispheres, he actually built one of these cannons as well. And this was in the Munich show.
This is a fixed-target experiment. And so there's our target. This is our detector, and there's our beam dump, which is just a box filled with toilet paper rolls. And we put a wooden projectile in here, which actually becomes pretty fast.
Now the target we have here, in Germany, we have this cottage cheese stuff, which turns out it's called quark. Some people claim actually that's where James Joyce got the word from, because he lived in Zurich, German-speaking Switzerland, for quite a while. Anyway, so three quarks for muster mark. But maybe it's [GERMAN]. That's what some people claim.
Anyway, so you do this. You close the tube at both ends. You pump the air out, and then you pull this away. The air flows in.
And you get-- so here is the projectile. The quark is in the beam dump. And the detector has collected the event.
So then you go in with your hand and read out the event. And then you can actually try it. And it turns out it tastes strange. Ta ta, so this is the Oxford show.
We did a show for refugees also. Last year, there were a lot of refugees came into Germany, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan. And we got together to do a show for them.
The question is what language? So we did the Aladdin story. The German students spoke English. We had some Arabic-speaking physics students also.
The genie spoke Arabic. She was off stage, and then we had a picture of the genie, like Robin Williams. And the narrator, in between, summarized the story in Arabic so that the people who didn't speak English knew what was going on.
This is me at the beginning of the show. This is our magic carpet. This is Aladdin and Badar, and you see the wonderful costumes. This is the bad wizard and the plasma ball.
This is the narrator. Kind of a nice picture, I thought. Unfortunately, the German government wouldn't tell us where the refugees are actually staying, so we had to do this by word of mouth. And also a very different culture, so they didn't let their kids come. They didn't let their wives or daughters come. So we had actually problems. About 100 people came.
They enjoyed it, I think. And this is a nice experiment where you can form a conducting chain. These are the conductors. You can hook it up to a sound system. And if you let go, the music stops. That was kind of the final experiment.
In March, we went to China, and we trained some local students in Beijing. So I was going to say Chinese, but he's actually Pakistani. But he's studying in China.
We did a show here. The Chinese students did a show in Chinese for Chinese high school kids. We trained with them, and we used their experiments.
In the end, the Chinese physicists joined. So when they did the Chinese explanations, we were sure the physics was correct. This is the show. This is the German and the Chinese students together at the end.
This is the official group photo. This is the unofficial group photo. This is in the Forbidden City. And in 2011, we did a big show in front of 10,000 people. But they weren't there to see us. There was a famous band playing after us, so we were the warm up kind of.
And Bonn, of course, is famous for Beethoven. The statue is there. They built the stage around the statue. And there's that Coca-Cola experiment, which works on all scales.
OK, so I'm finished. It's an extensive outreach project. Strongly involve the students. Live experiments with explanations, I still have to explain some experiments, and the storyline.
Maybe you want to try it yourself. And this is actually a Bonn physics student in the Munich Deutsches Museum, and this is this physics show conference. Thank you.
SPEAKER: All right, thank you very much. I think in light of time, we should finish now. And whoever is interested--
HERBERT DREINER: Let me just quickly explain the experiments. Sorry. So the bottle, probably most of you know, has a hole in it. If you keep the hole closed, it's impossible to inflate the balloon.
So that should have already triggered you, or maybe it did, because you're halving the volume. So you're doubling the pressure. And you just can't do that with your lungs.
The rails, oh, here it is. On the narrow rails, you're rotating over a large radius. And most of the kinetic energy is actually linear momentum. If you go on the wide rails, you're rotating over a smaller radius.
And when you push it, a large amount of the energy is rotational, so it's spinning stronger. When they collide, you reverse the linear momentum, but not the rotation. And it's just the backspin that pulls them together.
The cup is fine, OK. Oh, so these, they look symmetric, but they're not symmetric. There are two ways of making these.
One is where the bottom is not symmetric. The other one is you cut it down the middle and make it look like you didn't cut it. And you put a piece of metal point symmetric but not mirror symmetric. And you do it the other way around with the other one. Was that it? OK, thank you. Sorry.
SPEAKER: Thank you very much.
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Herbert Dreiner gives an overview of the Bonn Physics Show, an outreach and education project for kids age 10 and older, developed in 2001 and performed annually by Bonn University physics students. Dreiner presents live and recorded experiments, emphasizing the essential features of a successful show and how to set up your own show involving local physics students. He is a faculty member at Universität Bonn. The Nov. 21, 2016 event is part of the Physics Colloquium Series.