OGDEN -- Glowing pickles, mechanical cats, levitating billiard balls, lasers and rockets.
The appearance of all these things in one place today can only mean its time for the annual Physics Open House at Weber State University. The sixth annual free event will also feature a talk on super novas, a variety of demonstrations, a visual tour of Mars via images from Curiosity rover, and hands-on activities to include magnet play and circuit building.
The event is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at the Lind Lecture Hall, home to the Ott Planetarium, 1551 Edvalson St. A highlight of the open house will be a new planetarium show that is a tribute to the late Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon.
"The open house is a way for us to say thank you for the support we get from Ogden and the community, and to let everybody know what a great physics and science departments we have here at Weber State," said John Armstrong, physics associate professor.
The event will have features that Armstrong hasn't even seen.
"Adam Johnston does the Circus of Physics, and he keeps running around the hallways with equipment he doesn't want to show us," Armstrong said. "It will be all new and exciting, with things for all ages."
Families tend to come for the educational and entertaining activities, and especially for things children can construct. Older adults come to learn more about the natural world, and to expand their understanding of science, Armstrong said.
Weather permitting, volunteers will launch rockets outside, and conduct other kid-friendly activities. One professor will demonstrate how to construct a simple spectrometer that can be used with a cellphone to create a rainbow effect.
Open house attendance has gone as high as 1,400 people in previous years, so Armstrong suggests arriving a little early, if possible.
The event coincides with a Weber State football game, so parking will be at a premium. Guests can park at the Dee Events Center and ride the free shuttle bus to the west entrance of Stewart Stadium.
Although the event is free, those who attend are invited to bring a can of food for donation to the Utah Food Bank.