Everyone’s invited to Fermilab’s annual Family Open House on Feb. 11

A student tries to navigate a 3-D maze without completing an electrical circuit. Photo: Reidar Hahn

A student tries to navigate a 3-D maze without completing an electrical circuit. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Fermilab’s Family Open House is a chance for the whole family to spend an afternoon learning about science in a hands-on way and have fun doing it. This year’s event, running from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11, will feature a new auditorium show and several activities for kids and their parents to enjoy.

New to this year’s Open House is the auditorium show “Colder than Cool.” Fermilab scientists will explore the chilling effects of liquid nitrogen on everyday items and demonstrate its uses in electricity and magnetism. The event will also feature “Live from CERN,” where participants will take part in a virtual visit of the CMS experiment on the Large Hadron Collider, see the detector, and ask questions of scientists at Fermilab and in Geneva, Switzerland.

Other presentations include “Physics and Engineering of Sports” and a panel on women in science. About a dozen scientists and engineers will be ready to answer questions in the exhibit area on the 15th floor of Wilson Hall.

In the Wilson Hall atrium, families can enjoy a “physics carnival,” including interactive exhibits by students from seven different schools: West Aurora High School, Quincy Notre Dame High School, Islamic Foundation School in Villa Park, Naperville Central High School, Auburn High School, Christian Life High School in Rockford, and Downers Grove North High School.

Fermilab’s two Remote Operations Centers on the first floor of Wilson Hall will also be accessible for the Open House. The east center receives real-time data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland, and you’ll have the chance to meet members of the CMS experiment. The west center is where many of Fermilab’s experiments are controlled, and there will be operators at their stations, all of them ready to talk about the work they are doing. Next door to the west operations center will be a panel of lab employees presenting an interactive talk about their day-to-day jobs.

Children attempt to make as many structures as they can while following the same kinds of rules particles use to combine. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Children attempt to make as many structures as they can while following the same kinds of rules particles use to combine. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Tours will be given of the Linear Accelerator, the Main Control Room and the Muon g-2 experiment. Tickets for this tour are available on a first come, first served basis the day of the open house. The tour is restricted to those ages 10 and up and requires an extensive amount of walking.

“We want visitors to gain a better understanding of all the exciting things happening at Fermilab and a general appreciation for STEM fields and research,” said Amanda Early, education program leader at Fermilab. “One of the best parts of this event is the looks of wonder on the faces of kids of all ages. Watching kids get excited about science and the research done at Fermilab, and knowing you may have had a part in inspiring them to pursue a career in a STEM field, is incredibly rewarding.”

The Family Open House is free of charge. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event. It is made possible by an anonymous donor to the nonprofit organization Fermilab Friends for Science Education.

Fermilab is America’s premier national laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research. A U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory, Fermilab is located near Chicago, Illinois, and operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance LLC, a joint partnership between the University of Chicago and the Universities Research Association Inc. Visit Fermilab’s website at www.fnal.gov and follow us on Twitter at @Fermilab.

The DOE Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit http://science.energy.gov

Media contact
  • Andre Salles, Fermilab Office of Communication, asalles@fnal.gov, 630-840-6733
  • Amanda Early, Fermilab Office of Education and Public Outreach, aearly@fnal.gov, 630-840-4165