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Physics is Fun

Final Report Summary - PHYSFUN (Physics is Fun)

The programme 'Physics is fun' (PHYSFUN) proposed a new approach to teaching physics, and science divulgation, in general. Objectives of the project were to increase the common interest in physics, in all age groups and to deliver instruments for successful teaching of complex problems of modern science, with special attention on their interdisciplinary aspects and practical applications.

Objectives of the programme were obtained by:
1) producing objects illustrating laws of physics and examples of applications;
2) their presenting to broad public on a series of exhibitions in five EU countries (Slovenia, Italy, Germany, France, Poland);
3) production of virtual versions of these exhibitions, in the form of CD-Roms and web-sites.

The project produced objects and descriptions at two levels:
- Physics of everyday objects, of table-top gadgets and toys; these objects were used to show laws of mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and optics.
- Walking though modern physics; some achievements, but even more, open problems in contemporary physics were commented.

Events which summed up for the 16-months programme included four international and four regional events, each time targeting the specific audience.

Exhibitions on 'Physics and toys' showed about 100 objects, accompanied with simple, two-three phrases descriptions. It targeted low-age spectators, primary school pupils and their teachers.

Almost the same objects, but in thematic sets and with rigorous description of physical laws, were shown during GIREP and MPTL seminars and in Ecole Centrale in Paris. It targeted organised scholastic groups, mainly.

'Modern physics' exhibitions included 27 A1-size posters on rigid support and described, among others: spectroscopy, atomic physics, quarks and elementary particles, material science, astrophysics. This latter exhibition is accompanied with experiments, like electron mass measurement, electron charge experiment, gas laser tube, optical emission spectroscopy, experiments on Plank's law etc. Complete laboratory sets like lasers but also simple objects illustrating their operation (selective mirrors, light guides etc.) are shown. This exhibition targeted students of science faculties, university professors, organised groups from secondary schools.