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U of M Physics Circus brings large-scale stunts and physics lessons to the public Feb. 9

January 31, 2012

Media note: Members of the media may attend a daytime school group show at the Minneapolis Convention Center to get photos or video, but please contact Rhonda Zurn at rzurn@umn.edu to make arrangements.

If you’ve never seen a physicist drop 20 feet through thin air while a friend shoots a ball at him from a cannon, or grown men and women shooting streams of toilet paper over an audience with a leaf blower, the University of Minnesota Physics Force has a show for you.

The Physics Force will present its largest show of the year, the “Physics Circus,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The show is unique mix of physics demonstrations and slapstick humor suitable for adults and children of all ages. The show is free, but registration is requested at http://umnphysicsforce2012.eventbrite.com/.

The Physics Force is a successful and entertaining outreach program of the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering. The group’s goal is to show that difficult subjects like physics and math can be fun and interesting. Each year the group performs for more than 20,000 school-age kids at its annual shows.

The Force consists of high school teachers and University of Minnesota physics professors and graduate students. The group has performed variations of their show at Disney's Epcot Center, on Newton's Apple, and the Knoff-Hoff Show, a popular German television science program, and locally at various venues, including the Minnesota State Fair.

Physics Circus demonstrations include dropping one of the Physics Force members from a 20-foot garret while shooting a ball at him to demonstrate the effect of gravity on projectiles, collapsing a 55-gallon drum using only ambient air pressure, and one of the Force members propelling across the stage on a cart by emptying a fire extinguisher to demonstrate how forces come in pairs.

For more information and a video preview of the demonstrations, visit http://www.physics.umn.edu/outreach/pforce/index.html.

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