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Release: Feb. 12, 2001

UI offers free Saturday "Family Adventures in Science"

IOWA CITY, Iowa –- If laser light, magnetism and other phenomena interest you or your children, you may want attend a new University of Iowa "hands-on" science activity series titled, "Family Adventures in Science."

The free series, designed for elementary school-age children accompanied by their parents and for science teachers, is held from 4-5 p.m. Saturdays through May 5 in Room 70 of Van Allen Hall, Jefferson and Dubuque Streets. Scheduled programs include:

  • February 17, "Why is the sky blue during the day and red before it turns dark? What are rainbows made of?"
  • February 24, "Why do piano, violin, base, flute...all sound different, what are the scales?"
  • March 3, "The four states of matter, plasma and the secrets of lightning, aurora...etc."
  • March 24, "How to lift a big person with a finger? How does your heart lift so much blood?"
  • March 31, "Do magnets really have magnetic personalities? How does a magnetic train work?"
  • April 7, "How long ago was ...'In the beginning..., before time started?' (Einstein thought time is bent, how about that?)
  • April 14, "Magicians' secrets of optical illusions, and how the heavens come next door with telescopes."
  • April 21, "What are the BLACK Holes, Supernovae, Neutron stars, Quasars,.....which populate the heavens?"
  • April 28, To be determined.
  • May 5, To be determined.

Designed to satisfy children's curiosity, the series presents basic scientific concepts through a combination of experiments, videos, displays and desktop experiments. The programs are offered by the UI College of Liberal Arts, department of physics and astronomy. Additional information can be found at:

The programs are organized by Physics Professor Usha Mallik, who received her doctorate from the City College of New York in 1978, joined the UI faculty in 1988, and is a member of the U.S. High Energy Physics Advisory Panel. Panel members contribute to the national research effort by selecting research directions and setting priorities, by surveying the peer review process, and by advising the U.S. Department of Energy’s director of science, as well as the National Science Foundation, on particle physics research. Panel members are selected on the basis of contributions made to their scientific field as shown by research, publications in scientific journals, and other scientific activities, achievements and honors.

She currently is conducting research using the Stanford Linear Accelerator with $260,000 in annual base funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, to better understand why matter, rather than anti-matter, is overwhelmingly present in the universe, even though physicists theorize that the two forms of matter were present in equal amounts when the universe was created. One of the goals of particle physics is to discover the basic building blocks of matter.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. People requiring an accommodation in order to participate in this program are asked to contact the Department of Physics and Astronomy in advance at 319-335-1688.