Foggy ghosts lay claim to physics lab

By Sara Adams

Levitating ghosts, flying sparks and an eerie fog will fill the lower level of Faraday Hall from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday in this year’s haunted laboratory.

Because of the event’s success last year, community members can enjoy the fun for an extra hour and see more displays and activities.

“There are more than 40 demonstrations,” Physics Outreach Coordinator Pati Sievert said. Several of the demonstrations involve light, color mixing, mirrors, plasma globes, fluorescent items, lasers, optical fibers and spectrum tubes. One demonstration includes a magnetic viewing film where one can see the magnetic field surrounding a magnet. There also will be several mechanical demonstrations and various items for children to make and take with them.

The haunted laboratory is sponsored by the outreach program Frontier Physics and the NIU Physics Club.

“We host it and take care of some of the exhibits and construct a lot of the stuff,” said Jameela Huq, a senior music major and president of the NIU Physics Club. “We also explain some of the exhibits that are going on – we’re volunteering to do it for outreach.”

Next year, the Physics Outreach Coordinator will be taking the haunted laboratory on the road.

“We received a grant this year from the Bauder Fund of American Association of Physics Teachers to begin preparing the haunted lab to go on the road next year,” Sivert said. “It requires a lot of work to set up and take down, so we need lots of volunteers to make the day a success.”

Though the haunted laboratory is designed to be spooky for Halloween, the demonstrations are geared toward children between the ages of five and 12, and the laboratories promise to be an “unscary family event.” Since it is a family event, children must be accompanied by an adult. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

Besides the haunted lab, community members also can enjoy the NIU Philharmonic Halloween concert on Saturday. Trick-or-treating in the Music Building will begin at 5:30 p.m. before the 6 p.m. concert.

After the first concert, there will be another round of trick-or-treating from 7:30 to 8 p.m., with a second concert from 8 to 9 p.m. Trick-or-treaters and concert-goers are encouraged to attend in costume.

Saturday’s Halloween events

– Haunted laboratory – 1 to 5 p.m., Faraday Hall, rooms 103 and 105

– Trick-or-treating – 5:30 to 6 p.m., Music Building

– Philharmonic Halloween concert –

6 to 7 p.m., Music Building

– Trick-or-treating – 7:30 to 8 p.m.,

Music Building

– Philharmonic Halloween concert –

8 to 9 p.m., Music Building