Kids and science at Snowmass, June 30-July 21

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BATAVIA, Ill.—Curiosity makes natural allies of children and scientists: “Why?” is a question that neither group ever stops asking.

The scientists and science educators taking part in “Snowmass 2001: A Summer Study on the Future of Particle Physics” have made children a priority in the three-week conference, June 30-July 21 at the Snowmass Conference Center.

From balloon flights to physics vans; from museum exhibits to sky-watching; from local day-camp activities to teacher training workshops; from public lectures to Spanish-language programs; and with a special Science Weekend extravaganza, Snowmass 2001 “will take public outreach and education efforts to a new level, thanks to a remarkable response from the whole particle physics community,” says Chris Quigg, co-chair of the Snowmass Organizing Committee and a theoretical physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab, near Chicago.

A roundup of events for kids, and those as curious as kids:

Science Weekend: The weekend of July 7-8 will feature “Science On the Mall” at Snowmass Mall, including large-scale demonstrations from SciTech Museum in Aurora, Ill.; a Virtual Science Fair (a computer room with volunteer guides to HEP websites and interactive materials); Physics on Stage (performances by physics demonstration groups from universities and labs); and day and evening public lectures.

Week-long Teacher Workshops: The annual QuarkNet workshop (July 1-July 5), drawing teachers from a national pool, led by Marge Bardeen of Fermilab’s Education office; and SALTA (Snowmass Area Large-scale Time-coincidence Array, July 16-19), enabling local Colorado teachers to get their classes involved in a continent-wide cosmic-ray observation experiment, led by physicists Greg Snow of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Jeffrey Wilkes, of the University of Washington.

Student Workshops: A series of half-day hands-on programs for children and teenagers on interesting topics in high-energy physics and other science areas.

Public Lectures: Presentations on high-energy physics or other scientific topics for the general public.

Open-air talks: 30-minute presentations on topics ranging from the sky and weather to particle physics for the public at outdoor locations on or near the Snowmass Mall.

Conversations with Children: 30-minute interactive discussions about scientific topics or careers in science, arranged for small groups of elementary and middle-school children.
Balloon Ascent: The SALTA (Snowmass Area Large-scale Time-coincidence Array) project is setting up a cosmic ray detector network in collaboration with secondary schools in and around the Roaring Fork Valley, in Colorado. As part of Science Weekend, SALTA scientists Greg Snow and Jeff Wilkes will re-enact the discovery of cosmic rays by Victor Hess in a 1912 balloon flight, using a modern hot-air balloon launched from Snowmass on July 8 at around 6 a.m.
Astronomy Program: Evening presentations on astronomy, complete with telescopes, are being planned for evenings at a location away from the lights of the Snowmass Mall. A portable planetarium will allow some daytime events to be scheduled as well.

“Snowmass 2001” represents a unique opportunity to gain new insights into the world around us. To arrange coverage of this world-class science gathering, visit the Web at

Fill out the registration form, and submit it electronically; or print it and fax it to Fermilab’s Office of Public Affairs at 630-840-8780.

For more on the conference and schedule, visit

Fermilab, offering organizational and logistical support for Snowmass 2001, is operated by Universities Research Association, Inc., under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.