Open House on April 18 to Showcase Best of Physics and Astronomy

Fun-filled event at UC Riverside for families includes hands-on activities, presentations and lab tours

Photo shows a woman holding a spinning wheel with both hands.

Standing on a rotatable platform, a visitor to a past Physics and Astronomy Open House at UC Riverside gets a hands-on education on a physical law called the principle of conservation of angular momentum. Photo credit: I. Pittalwala, UC Riverside.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – One way to understand concepts in physics and astronomy is to get hands-on experience with demonstrations that explain these concepts (see photo).  The public has an opportunity to gain such experience at an open house hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside on Saturday, April 18.

The open house will take place from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Physics Building on campus as well as in the building’s courtyard.  The event is free of charge.  Parking in Lot 30 is also free.

The demonstrations of physics and astronomy concepts will be conducted by UC Riverside faculty and students.   Tours of research laboratories are also included in the open house.  Free T-shirts will be given out to visitors (while supplies last).

“Many of the demonstrations will cover electricity and magnetism,” said Owen Long, a professor of physics and astronomy, who is leading the open house organization.  “For example, there will be demonstrations of the physics behind electric motors and electric generators.  One of the hands-on activities will be to make a small electric motor – which visitors can take home – out of a battery, a magnet, and a piece of copper wire.  There will also be a collection of demos on the physics of sound.  The open house has been tremendously popular with families in past years; we are expecting a good turnout this year as well.”

Included in the open house are three research presentations in classrooms and the lobby of Physics Building.  These presentations, which start at 2 p.m., will cover the three main areas of research being done in the department: astronomy, condensed matter physics, and high energy physics.

The open house is on the same day as Highlander Day on campus and the Riverside Insect Fair in downtown Riverside.  For more information about the open house, please click here or email

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