The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Physics Header physics


Outreach

Outreach Header

[Jump to Physics Outreach]

Astronomy Programs


Information on public astronomy observing programs, astronomy presentations, resources for educators, and special public programs is availabe on the Space Science Outreach Page.


All astronomy programs listed below are appropriate for all audiences

Astronomy Outreach

Exploring the Solar System
In this presentation I will take your students on a tour of the solar system. We will begin our trip at the Sun and travel all the way to the birthplace of the comets and farthest reaches of our solar system. We explore the secrets of solar phenomenon such as sunspots and solar flares. We tour the planets and some of their moons and discuss the volcanoes of Io, the dust devils of Mars, the ice cliffs of Miranda and the gigantic hurricane-like storms of Jupiter. We look at a REAL moon rock and simulated lunar soil and discuss returning to the moon. There is much more. The program culminates in the making of a comet using dry ice, liquid nitrogen and the appropriate ingredients creating a dirty snowball with a wow factor of 11.
~1-1 1/2 hours

Missions to Mars
Mars is the only other solar system body beside the moon we are likely to send humans to. Our exploration of Mars seems endless as we are sending a new mission to the red planet an average of every two years. From robotic geologists roaming the surface to orbiting spacecraft revealing the secrets of Mars hidden and storied past we attempt to understand what happened to the water on Mars and how it may or may not have supported life in some form.
~1 hour

Return to The Moon
We first landed on the moon almost 40 years ago. We hope to return by 2020. For us to do so, will require new rockets, new capsules for our astronauts and a new approach to surviving on our nearest celestial neighbor. We will investigate the problems of lunar dust and what we might do to overcome them. We will look at the best places to build lunar habitats and why we have to learn to use the materials already on the moon to survive.
~45 minutes

Building and Launching Model Rockets
There is no better way to excite students about aerospace than to build and launch a flying model rocket. You supply the students and the rockets and we can help you get them built and will provide all the equipment needed for launch. Requires two sessions. One to build the rockets and a second fair weather day to launch. Building requires a minimum of 2 hours. Launch day will require ~1+ hour depending on the number of students.

You may request other space science and astronomy programs on topics of your choosing.

Star Parties
A star party is a group of people gathered together to look through telescopes and binoculars and learn about the stars, the planets, the moon, comets and all those faint fuzzy objects that are just plain hard to see. We have video equipment that can be setup to project the telescope images on a large screen to accommodate large groups at your school.

StarWatch at UT
The University of Tennessee Department of Physics and Astronomy with local volunteers, offer telescope observations of the night sky for the general public on the first and third Fridays of every month, weather permitting. Observations are held on the roof of the Alvin H. Nielsen Physics Bldg. Start times vary throughout the year. We have had many teachers offer their students extra credit for observing with us on these nights. We encourage students of all ages to participate in our observing programs.


Physics Presentations

Members of the physics department are available to give physics presentations to schools, private groups, or general audiences.

Dr. Marianne Breinig

"Welcome to the World of Quantum Mechanics"
Our everyday experiences do not help us to predict the strange behavior of atomic and subatomic particles. How does Quantum Mechanics, which is the basis of our present understanding of all natural phenomena, describe the behaviour of light, electrons, atoms, and molecules? Can we develop an intuition concerning quantum mechanical effects?

Appropriate for general audiences.

"Science Education and the World Wide Web"
As part of Tennessee's Bicentennial celebration, the state is providing the opportunity for all 1,554 public schools to be connected with full text and graphics to the Internet. How can we take advantage of the World Wide Web to enhance science education for everybody?

Appropriate for general audiences.

"How 'Bout Them Atoms"

Appropriate for general audiences.

Dr. Jon Levin

"Synchrotron Radiation; the Light Fantastic"

Appropriate for undergraduate physics students.

Dr. James E. Parks

Physics Outreach

"And God Said, 'Let There be Light.' From Oil Lamps to Lasers"
Lamps originated perhaps more than 15,000 years ago and have been our source of light for ages. Light is used as a metaphor in the scriptures and is equated with knowledge, justice, goodness, righteousness, and truth. A brief history of the development of lamps and lighting will be presented with descriptions of the properties and characteristics of light and laser light in particular. Characteristics of laser light are discussed and illustrated with fun demonstrations.

Appropriate for church and religious groups of all ages from 12 years and up.

"From Oil Lamps to Lasers"
Lamps originated perhaps more than 15,000 years ago and have been our source of light for ages. A brief history of the development of lamps and lighting will be presented with descriptions of the properties and characteristics of light and laser light in particular.

Appropriate for schools, grades 9-12, colleges, civic groups, and general audiences.

"Lasers and Their Applications"
In recent years, lasers have had a major impact on our everyday lives, with applications ranging from supermarket product code scanners to laser surgery. Examples of applications made possible by lasers will be discussed and shown.

Appropriate for schools, grades 9-12, colleges, civic groups, and general audiences.

"Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy and Its Applications"
Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy (RIS) is a laser-based technique to selectively excite and photoionize atoms of a selected element. The theory and practical implementation of RIS is presented, with applications for ultrasensitive analysis techniques.

Appropriate for colleges, scientific, and technical audiences.

 



 

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Big Orange. Big Ideas.

Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System