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Randolph College Hosts First Ever Science Festival

Free event features observatory viewing, special shows, poetry readings, and much more

3/18/2009 10:44:27 AM


LYNCHBURG — The Randolph College Society of Physics Students will present its first ever Science Festival April 4-5. The free event will feature hands on activities and demonstrations including an amazing demonstration of physics tricks, an open viewing at the college’s observatory, an open mic featuring science related poetry, and a showing of the movie Jurassic Park.

Randolph’s 2009 Science Festival is the brainchild of Peter Sheldon, physics professor. After hearing the internationally-known theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss talk about the importance of bringing science to the public and about the impact of science festivals, Sheldon knew Randolph needed to provide one to the Lynchburg community.

“My intent is to get people to see how amazing and interesting science is,” said Sheldon, who regularly provides science-related programs and camps at places such as Jubilee Family Development Center, Amazement Square and in local schools. “My intent is to get people to see that science is cool, to excite young people, and to encourage them to want to study science.”

The Randolph Society of Physics Students decided to expand the Science Day program to create a weekend festival. Science Day has become increasingly popular since its inception in 2005, and organizers expect the Science Festival event to be popular in the community as well. The interdisciplinary celebration of science includes participants from the college’s science, humanities, and arts departments as well as seven presenters.

“Science festivals are a growing phenomenon around the world,” Sheldon said. “I knew I had to be involved in bringing one to Lynchburg. It is so exciting to see the different ways that science is connected to our lives.”

5th Annual Science Day

The Science Festival incorporates the 5th Annual Science Day, which requires pre-registration, and is geared to students in third through sixth grade. Sponsored by Areva, the event offers an afternoon of guided hands-on activities such as building an earthquake-proof house, a re-cycling race and Science Jeopardy. All participants receive a free t-shirt. Teachers can attend Science Day as well and can register to receive recertification points and access to educational resources. For more information on Science Day or to register, please see:

1st Annual Science Festival

The first 100 participants of the Science Festival also receive a free t-shirt and no registration is required. The Science Festival will feature an observatory viewing from 9:30-10:30 p.m. in the Winfree Observatory. The college’s state-of-the-art 14” telescope and robotic mount will be on display. Tom Michalik, astronomer and professor, will lead the open viewing of the stars for all ages.

Sure to be a hit at the festival is the Best Ever Demo Show, scheduled for 10:30 p.m. — 11:30 p.m. in Martin 315. Peter Sheldon and physics students will pull out their best tricks of the trade and physics demonstrations.

On Sunday, April 5, Rebecca Irby, a physical therapist, will join Randolph Coach Cat Phillips for a discussion of the science of sports and sports injury prevention.

Poetry and other artistic expression will be the highlight of the Open Mic scheduled for 3:30-4:45 p.m. in the Student Center. Kelley Swain `07, will read from her recently published book of poetry, Darwin’s Microscope. She will be joined by Laura-Gray Street, a Randolph College professor and poet. The original Randolph College Physics Rap will also debut at this event.

Beginning at 5 p.m., the Theatre Dep

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations


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