It’s back, and bigger than ever. The Little Shop of Physics, Colorado State University’s long-running, traveling science-for-everyone ambassadors, will host a “Spring Science Extravaganza” on campus April 23.
The outdoor event will be Saturday, April 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Monfort Quadrangle and Lory Student Center Plaza at CSU and is free and open to the public. A rain date is scheduled for April 30.
“We’ll have an amazing day, with the Monfort Quad filled with hundreds of hands-on science experiences, including some old favorites and some that are brand new for this event,” said Little Shop of Physics Director Brian Jones.
The Little Shop of Physics, part of the College of Natural Sciences, comprises CSU staff and volunteer educators who bring fun, interactive, curriculum-approved scientific demonstrations and experiments to all age groups, spreading joy and curiosity about the natural world. Particularly popular among school-aged children and famous for traveling throughout Colorado and beyond to schools and more, Little Shop typically hosts an open house event every winter.
If you go
What: Little Shop of Physics Spring Science Extravaganza
When: Saturday, April 23, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Monfort Quadrangle and Lory Student Center Plaza, Colorado State University
Parking: Morgan Library, Engineering Building or Pitkin Garage. Also accessible by Transfort Max Line or bicycle.
More info: lsop.colostate.edu/sse
Pandemic restrictions over the last two years have curtailed Little Shop’s usual indoor activities and events. This year, the team decided to push their large open house to springtime and to an outdoor setting, calling it their Spring Science Extravaganza.
The change brought challenges, Jones said. Their most popular hands-on experiments are ones usually done in a dark room, illuminated only by black lights and the glow of lasers and lights. Those are being shelved this year.
But the team saw the outdoor space as an opportunity. They’ve created some new, larger demos that will be perfect for a ceiling-less setting: A fog vortex-maker, floating bubbles and cold carbon dioxide, for instance. The Little Shop student volunteers have also developed a dozen other stations specifically intended for an outdoor space, like a “sound beam” made from a giant reflective umbrella, and a weather balloon filled with water that makes wave patterns.
The event will include approximately 100 CSU student volunteers alongside 20 interns or regular volunteers who helped develop materials for the day. Little Shop will also welcome about a dozen partners for the extravaganza, including: CSU Adaptive Robotics, CSU Anatomy and College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, CSU Department of Atmospheric Science, CSU Bug Zoo, CSU Chemistry Club, CSU Energy of Food Systems, CSU Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, CSU Department of Psychology, Northglenn High School, and NCAR/UCAR Center for Science Education.
The Little Shop of Physics has hosted annual public gatherings since the early 1990s. The first effort, Jones recalled, filled three lab rooms and drew 200 people. It has since grown into a sought-after community event, regularly attracting as many as 10,000 people.