Fermilab offers Family Open House on Sunday, Jan. 27

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Tours, demonstrations and hands-on activities for the entire family

This year’s Family Open House at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27. The event offers free family-style hands-on activities and exhibits, make-and-take home projects, science shows and tours. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend.

The highlights of this year’s program will include hourly cryogenics shows by Jerry Zimmerman as “Mr. Freeze,” the popular Ask-a-Scientist session on the 15th floor of Wilson Hall, and tours of the linear accelerator.

“The Open House is a great way for children to have fun while learning about the world of physics,” said Spencer Pasero, an education specialist at Fermilab. “Mr. Freeze and his cryogenics show are always a hit, and I think adults and kids will enjoy the Van de Graaff generator demo, the light show, and our other demonstrations. And children will again have a chance to race against our gravity accelerator and fold paper plates with Bradford Hansen-Smith. That was a big hit last year.”

Tours of the linac will show people the Cockcroft-Walton, which accelerates charged particles, and the straight beam line that sends particles into the four-mile ring of the world’s highest energy particle accelerator, the Tevatron.

You also can view photos of the laboratory’s two nearly four-story tall particle detectors and displays explaining the accelerator and astrophysics experiments. During the linac tour you can see displays about cancer treatment using radiation from the accelerator beam.

About a dozen scientists will be on hand to answer questions in the 15th floor exhibit hall where you can get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding towns and see a map of the lab’s 6,800 acres.

The Open House is made possible by an anonymous donor to Fermilab Friends for Science Education. The event is free of charge. All ages are welcome, but the open house is most appropriate for children in grade 3 and up. No advance registration is required. Tours of the linear accelerator are restricted to ages 10 and up. Contact Nancy Lanning at edreg@fnal.gov or (630)840-5588 for more information, or visit http://ed.fnal.gov/ffse/openhouse.html

Fermilab is a Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance, LLC. The DOE Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the nation and helps ensure U.S. world leadership across a broad range of scientific disciplines.