|Credit: Marvin via Flickr|
- Scatter some chalk boards covered in equations around the room (or make your own with black paper and a silver sharpie). Better yet, leave the most famous equations half blank and challenge your guests to complete them.
- Red, green, and blue balloons can be quarks of different colors. Balloons are also great for creating static electricity, and demonstrating buoyancy (if some are filled with helium and some with air).
- Lava lamps to demonstrate buoyancy (or make your own!)
- Black lights give off ultraviolet light and cause phosphor-containing objects to glow. These objects include white t-shirts, teeth, fingernails, and tonic water.
- Glow sticks.
- Place heavy objects on a trampoline to demonstrate the curvature of space and time.
- If the party is outside, hang CDs in the trees and let them diffract light from the sun.
|Credit: Wicker Paradise via Flickr|
|Credit: Galaxy Zoo blog|
- Make a black hole cake complete with accretion disk, high-energy jets, and clouds of ionized gas. For further cake inspiration, check out this amazing spacetime cake made by Physics Buzz bloggers last year.
- Serve alongside homemade liquid nitrogen ice cream.
- Pi pie!
- Bowls of mixed nuts to demonstrate the Brazil nut effect.
- Radioactive cupcakes.
- String cheese theory.
- Bobbing for Newton's apple.
- Jello for a substance that spans the range from liquid to solid.
- If it's a party for adults, serve beer with different amounts of head (for example, Guinness vs ale) and note how the foam dampens sloshing.
- And so on. Let us know if you come up with more ideas!
- Make a tub of non-Newtonian oobleck out of cornstarch and water. It's a solid if you jump on it and a liquid if you stop.
|Credit: Tamela Maciel|
- Play the Heads Up/Post-It/Who Am I game with a physics twist. Write the names of famous physicists on post-its and stick them to people's foreheads. The player has to guess who they are based on the answers to yes-or-no questions.
- Play Cards Against Science.
- Have guests compete to complete the equations you've left partially blank on your chalkboards.
- Create color-mixed dancing silhouettes with spotlights and colored filters.
- Bocce ball, croquet, or pool billiards are all great games to demonstrate conservation of momentum.
- See who can make the best water rocket.
- Turn your smartphone into a spectrometer or accelerometer and do some science.
- The amazing and nerdy "AstroCappella" music of The Chromatics. Check out their Sun Song, Doppler Shifting, and Cosmic Radio Show songs.
- Strum a guitar to demonstrate how strings vibrate.
- Not strictly physics, but the Elements Song by Tom Lehrer is always sure to draw a crowd. Especially if you can sing it from memory!
- More physics songs and lyrics are available from Walter Smith's archive at Haverford College.
Happy June and Happy Physics!
By Tamela Maciel, also known as "pendulum"
Top image credit: Shaun Fisher via Flickr