CASPER Physics Circus Comes to TOWN!

Feb. 4, 2010

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Science investigators will be on the Baylor University campus over the next few weeks as part of the 2010 CASPER Physics Circus, which will be open to the public Friday, Feb. 11, at the Mayborn Museum Complex on the Baylor Campus. There will be a Spanish performance on Feb. 18 from 5-8 p.m.

The theme for this year's event is "CASPER Science Investigators: CSI." Participants will use math and science skills to solve a mystery about a missing person. Students who have their contestant numbers called will be given the chance to participate on stage with Professor Casper and win prizes.

Following the circus, students will have the chance to visit the Physics Fun House, where they will participate in demonstrations designed to teach how physics and the universe are connected. Participants will act as assistant investigators by engaging in hands-on exploration of various demonstrations in order to solve the case. Physicists monitor each exhibit in the Fun House and provide students with opportunities to experiment with the science demonstrations and provide scientific explanations of the activities.

Participants also will be able to see a laser light show, which will be choreographed to music and will illustrate career paths involving science and technology to students.

Shows will be daily at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

The event is funded by a six-year, $11.3 million grant awarded to GEAR Up Waco (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), an established partnership between Baylor, Texas State Technical College Waco, Making Connections with Youth Count INC., City of Waco Academy for Educational Development, and the Waco Independent School District that prepares at-risk students academically and socially for college. Baylor was the only university in Texas to receive GEAR UP funding. The $11.3 million grant, or $1.89 million per year, was second largest in the state, behind only the funding received by the Texas Education Agency. The Baylor grant also was the second largest award given to a U.S. university.

"The Physics Circus was started to address a growing concern about the need to preserve the scientific and technological skill sets critical to America's economic leadership," said Dr. Cynthia Hernandez, assistant director for educational research and outreach at Baylor. "The Physics Circus provides an educational experience that is entertaining. It piques curiosity and critical thinking and provides access to scientific principles."

Reservations are required to attend. Admission is free with paid admission to the Mayborn Museum Complex. Members of the Mayborn Museum may attend at no cost.

For more information and to make reservations go to www.baylor.edu/physicscircus or call Cynthia Hernandez at 254-710-1618.

Performances for Waco ISD and La Vega ISD only will be held Feb. 16 through March 6 and March 16-20.

Classrooms reserving 50 or more students should contact Sherri Honza at (254) 710-3763 for special arrangements. Reservations must be made in advance.

Curriculum models will also be available upon request this year to enhance the performance and extend learning.

by Jessica Puente, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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