USU demonstrating the physics of Sir Isaac Newton

Friday, Nov. 16 the Utah State University physics department hosts its 11th annual family-friendly November Demo Show with the theme “A Night With Newton.”

James Coburn, the Physics Teaching Laboratory Supervisor, coordinates this event.

“Demonstrations in physics are a lot of fun,” Coburn explains. “We have fun doing them in classes so I wanted to start an event for the public. About 10 years ago we decided to do this.

“In England, they have what they call the Christmas Lecture, which is a big demo show around Christmas time. Our students are gone around Christmas time so we moved it up close to Thanksgiving and we have the November Demo Show.”

He says over the years the crowds have developed favorite experiments.

“We’ve got a rocket demonstration that I think will be a crowd-pleaser. I’ve got another one that is a rotating platform and I think they will like that one. Of course, the public always likes any thing that explodes.”

Besides his work on universal gravity, Sir Isaac Newton developed the three laws of motion which form the basic principles of modern physics. Also, his discovery of calculus led the way to more powerful methods of solving mathematical problems.

“This year the topic we are featuring is mechanics and we decided to focus on the work of Sir Isaac Newton: his laws of motion and gravity. Then we will also put in some of his other contributions. We will do a little bit with light and things like that.”

The event begins Friday at 7 p.m. at the Emert Auditorium of the Eccles Science Center, south of the Taggart Student Center. It is free.

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