Physics Popularization Lectures,
Lessons and Workshops

performed by Institute of Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences,
in the period from June to December, 2013

Popularization events on experimental physics always attract wide attention of people. The support of EAGLE Project enables us to increase the number of these events, especially addressed to youth. Spectacular physical demonstrations, explained in accessible way, would convince them that physics is not boring and is worth to be studied in future. These lessons also promote the EAGLE project because there is an opportunity to inform people about the support which the Institute has obtained from EU. We explain that the project would significantly increase our research potential and would help to improve the collaboration with the industry.

There were 12 of lectures, lessons and workshops in total, given in the reported period. (5 by Beata Brodowska, 5 by Grzegorz Grabecki, 1 by Paweł Kaczor and 1 by Remigiusz Worch). 7 of them were given outside Warsaw, in the surrounding cities. Detailed description of the events with photographic documentation is presented below.


  • 9th December 2013
    Popularization lesson for the Primary school no. 175 from Warsaw

    About 50 pupils (5th and 6th class) in total. Held by Prof. Grzegorz Grabecki at Institute of Physics, Polish Academy
    of Sciences, Warsaw.
    Subject: Properties of bodies at low temperature – the lecture adopted for primary school level.

    “Young researchers” under the supervision of their older “colleagues” single-handedly discovered what is the electric charge, how electricity is generated by using different basic scientific methods and how to build an electric motor or radio. Children 5 - 10 years old had possibilities to perform by themselves experiments and draw conclusions. The workshop was performed four times, each time for 20 children. The number of takers was larger than the number of available places. There was a lot of amusement and fun for kids. They all asked us about the future similar events planned at the Institute.

    Prof. Grzegorz Grabecki demonstrates properties of liquid nitrogen (09.12.13).

  • 7th December 2013
    Popularization lesson and workshop for secondary school at Institute of Physics PAS, Warsaw.

    Participants: 1st class of Tomasz Zan High School, about 15 persons in total.
    Held by Dr. hab. Grzegorz Grabecki, Prof. IF PAN (lesson) and Dr. Beata Brodowska (workshop).

    On December 07, 2013, from 10:00 to 13:00, young people from the Youth Science Club of Tomasz Zan High School in Pruszków visited the Institute of Physics PAS. They took part in a two hour demonstration lesson "Properties of bodies at low temperatures" by Prof. Grzegorz Grabecki and one hour workshop led by Dr. Beata Brodowska.
    During the meeting young people had an opportunity to learn how the properties of matter change at low temperatures. Participants could see how the volume of gas decreases during transition to the liquid state, how behaves water in the test-tube when the air from the tube is pumped out, and how behaves a superconductor in magnetic field. After the demonstration lesson, at the workshop, students did few short experiments with liquid nitrogen.

    Photos from the demonstration lesson

    Professor Grzegorz Grabecki explains what happens with a material when it is cooled.

    Young people watch the experimental show with a lot of interest.

    Photo from workshop

    Students perform experiments with liquid nitrogen.

  • 6th December 2013
    Popularization lesson performed during School Festival of Science at Ignacy Moscicki Secondary School in Zielonka (16 km from Warsaw).

    Properties of bodies at very low temperatures.
    Held by Dr. hab. Grzegorz Grabecki, Prof. IF PAN. There were about 150 viewers.

    Acknowledgement of the director of the school in Zielonka for the lecture.

  • 4th December 2013
    Lesson: Experiments with electricity.

    Held by Dr. Paweł Kaczor. Institute of Physics, PAS, Warsaw. About 50 participants.

    Dr. Paweł Kaczor demonstrates operation of an electromagnetic gun.

    Viewers are often invited to work as experimentalists.

  • 23th November 2013
    Popularization lesson for ground school children performed in Gimnazjum no. 2
    in Wyszków (60 km from Warsaw).

    Held by Dr. hab. Grzegorz Grabecki, Prof. IF PAN. There were about 30 children.

    This particular event was organized for an invitation of Mrs. Renata Karsznia – an educational advisor of urban district Wyszków. It was the same experimental lesson “Properties of bodies at very low temperature”, but adapted for children, i.e. limited to an attractive experimental show.
    After the lesson, there was a meeting with a group of teachers of physics from Wyszków concerning future collaboration.

    Prof. Grzegorz Grabecki shows the children experiments at low-temperature physics
    (Gimnazjum no. 2 Wyszków).

    Children observe the effect of mixing liquid nitrogen with water.

    Children actively took part in the experiments.

  • 18th November 2013
    EAGLE Popularization lesson for High School students.

    1st and 2nd class of Liceum Ogólnokształcące from Warsaw, about 100 persons in total. Held by Dr. hab. Grzegorz Grabecki, Prof. IF PAN.

    Description of the lessonProperties of bodies at very low temperatures.
    The aim of this lesson is to show the youth a number of spectacular experiments on cryogenics. At the beginning, they are remained on several principal notions, like “heat” and “temperature”, principles of thermodynamics and methods of achieving the low temperatures. The last subject is illustrated by freezing tap water by means of a vacuum pump.
    The last subject is illustrated by freezing tap water by means of a vacuum pump. Subsequently, basic properties of iquid nitrogen (LN2) are demonstrated and explained. Following effects are presented (part of them with active participation of the audience):
    1. Freezing pieces of rubber and different plastics. When the items become brittle, they are broken
            with a lot of joy of the viewers.
    2. Lead bell gets vibrant sound when cooled.
    3. Some plastic bottles change their color at low temperature.
    4. Luminescence of an egg shell filled with LN2.
    5. Demonstration of a bimetal bending when placed in LN2.
    6. Direct measurement (by tape measure) of the thermal expansion coefficient of PCV rod.
    7. Demonstration of thermal contraction of alcohol.
    8. Demonstration of huge thermal contraction of a balloon filled with air when placed
            in contact with LN2.
    9. Demonstration of reducing pressure in closed volume filled with helium, cooled by LN2 (Charles law).
            Prototype of the gas thermometer.
    10. Liquefaction of oxygen on surface of a metallic tube filled with LN2.
    11. Demonstration of the strong paramagnetic properties of the liquid oxygen.
    12. Liquefaction of argon in LN2. Direct demonstration of large volume gas-liquid ratio.
    13. Electric conductance of metals probed by falling neodymium magnet through long tubes.
             Temperature dependence of the resistance of metals.
    14. Demonstration of levitation of a magnet over a superconducting YBCo.
    15. Demonstration that the resistance of superconducting coil (of HTS) is much smaller than resistance
              of a similar copper coil. The coils are serially connected and the voltage drops are measured
              at room temperature and in LN2.
    Finally, there is a time for questions from the audience. Subsequently, we tell about our current experimental studies performed with the use of the low-temperature equipment. This is illustrated by an excursion to the Laboratory of Spintronic and Cryogenic Research where we prepare the place for installation of a new Dilution Refrigerator sponsored by the EAGLE Project.

    Demonstration lecture “Properties of bodies at very low temperature”
    held by Grzegorz Grabecki.

  • 14th November 2013
    Popular scientific lecture at The Thomas More School in Otwock (26 km from Warsaw).

    On 14th November 2013 Dr. Remigiusz Worch gave a lecture entitled “Molecular field” at The Thomas More School in Otwock (28 Kościszki St., equivalent of a junior high or a lower secondary school). The concept of a sport field and moving players through the middle circle were used as an illustration of one of the molecular biophysics contemporary technique – fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. Two classes (2nd a 3rd year students) listened to this lecture – about 50 people in total.


  • 11th December 2013
    Workshop in the kindergarden in Pruszków (17 km from Warsaw).

    On the 11th of December at 3:30 p.m., in the youngest group of the Kindergarten No. 14 "Garden of the Rose" in Pruszków, a 30 minute workshop took place. The subject of the workshop was "Optics for little children". Workshop for children 3-4 year old was led by Dr. Beata Brodowska. The very short workshop consisted of three parts. First, children watched the shadow show and learned how a shadow is formed. The children had an opportunity to create shadows on the screen. Then the children played with safe mirrors (cut from mirror paper) and watched their reflections in concave and convex mirrors. They learned what is the upright and inverted image. At the end of the workshop children built kaleidoscopes with little help of their parents. After the workshop they took the kaleidoscopes home.

    Photos from the workshop

    Children listen with attention to Dr. Brodowska.

    Parents who came to pick up the children are also interested.

    It is fun to watch your own reflection in the mirror.

    Parents help children to make the kaleidoscopes.

  • 11th December 2013
    Scientific Workshop for Primary School in Pruszków (17 km from Warsaw).

    Subject: „Electrostatics and electricity”

    On the 11th of December from 8:45 till 11:45 the workshop for pupils from class III f of the Primary School no 6 im. Henryka Sienkiewicza from Pruszków was held. Workshop was led by Dr. Beata Brodowska. The subject of the meeting with pupils was electrostatics and electricity. The workshop was divided into three parts (sessions) – in the first session children performed experiments with electrostatics, in the second they produced electric current in various ways, and in the third they built simple electronic circuits using sets of "Secrets of electronics". Children, under the care of Beata Brodowska, performed all experiments by themselves. They charged electrically different items by rubbing and by electrostatic induction . They produced electricity using fruit batteries and electromagnetic induction. They also built simple electronic circuits of a bulb, rotor, and diode. Two of the most advanced groups even built a "short-wave radio".The workshop has been received with great enthusiasm both by the children and their teacher, who joined the experiments with children. During the final conversation children asked a lot of questions about a way to become a physicist. They liked best their own experiments. At the end the teacher said, that all lessons at school should be like this workshop.

    Photos from the workshop

    Dr. Beata Brodowska shows how to electrically charge pieces
    of foil in the plastic plate.

    Children very willingly perform all experiments.

    Lightning enclosed in a glass ball. On that example Dr. Brodowska explained
    to the children the formation of a lightning during a storm.
    She also explained why the tall trees are not safe places
    to hide during a storm.

    Children built simple electronic circuits, their teacher
    makes commemorative photos.

  • 14th November 2013
    Scientific Workshop for Preschool Children in Pruszków (17 km from Warsaw).

    Kids of age 5 and 6 years attended scientific workshop: “From the symmetry to the crystal growth”. The activity was conducted by Dr. Beata Brodowska. The workshop was placed in Pruszków preschool No. 14 called “The Garden of Roses”, ul. Jasna 2 in Pruszków. It lasted about an hour, there was 23 children in the group.

    Hands-on activities were conducted for learning the basic concepts in math symmetry and crystal symmetry. Children learned to recognize different types of symmetry by folding and cutting various paper geometrical figures and designs. Children could learn that symmetry is a feature of plants, animals, and various objects. In the second part of the workshop young researchers learned about crystals. The activities showed the importance of symmetry in crystals. There was a lot of fun in building various models of crystal structures using magnetic sets (balls and rods). Children learned also how to grow crystals. They could also see and touch various semiconducting crystals grown in our Institute. At the end of the workshop, children started their own breeding salt crystals, crystal growth will be observed by children the next weeks. Both kids and preschool teachers willingly performed experiments and tasks prepared for them. Children really wanted to do even more experiments and one of the girls asked Dr. Brodowska if she could come every day to the preschool and conduct such activities .

    Photos from the workshop

    Dr. Beata Brodowska tells children about crystals, which are grown
    in the Institute of Physics Polish Academy of Sciences.

    Children cut out of paper plates symmetrical "snowflakes".

    Children prepare to construct a unit cell from the magnetic blocks.

    Dr. Beata Brodowska explains how to build a crystal lattice from magnetic blocs.

    Children under the care of adult educators and kindergarten headmistress
    carry experienceto grow your own crystals of salt.

  • 14th November 2013
    Scientific Workshop and meeting in the Tomas Zan High School in Pruszków.

    On November 14th, 2013 from 14:30 to 17:00 a special meeting of the Club of Young Explorers KMO “LO ZAN” acting at the High School in Pruszków was held. As a part of the meeting there was conducted a workshop on symmetry and crystal growth at the secondary school level .

    The workshops held by Dr. Beata Brodowska were watched by the Copernicus Science Centre visitors: teachers from Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Guests were interested in particular how the Young Explorers' Club workshops are held in Polish schools at different levels of, education especially at high school level.
    During the workshop the students were looking for symmetry in different figures, it was very difficult to find these symmetries. They were supposed to build symmetrical pattern models exactly like in the pictures (task so difficult that only 2 people in the 18 -person group of participants completed this task) . They made origami octahedron. They built the spatial structure of fullerene C60 with magnetic blocks and performed the crystallization of aspirin.

    Dr. Beata Brodowska supervises the Workshop
    in the Tomas Zan High School in Pruszków.