Outreach Activites

The McMorran Lab is interested in partnering with students, teachers, parents, companies, and the press to share our research and learn how it can best benefit the community. While sharing our interests and discoveries in science and technology is enjoyable at a fundamental level, we scientists benefit from it in another way as well: discussing our research with people outside of our field, with backgrounds quite different from our own, provides us with opportunities to see our own work in a new light. Here is a list of our recent efforts to take advantage of these valuable opportunities:

  • During the week of June 25-29 members of the McMorran Lab contributed to the SPICE camp. The mission of SPICE is to create a learning environment where girls can thrive in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It is an excellent opportunity for students in Oregon entering the 6th through 8th grades. More information can be found at http://oco.uoregon.edu/spice/ or by contacting Brandy Todd at the Oregon Center for Optics btodd@uoregon.edu or (541) 346-4313.
  • On May 25, 2012 members of the McMorran Lab contributed to Mad Duck Family Science Night. This was an end-of-year event in which students participating in Mad Duck Science Days brought their families to Willamette Atrium to demonstrate some of the concepts they had learned and to explore new ones. The McMorran Lab operated a booth in which students and families interacted with hands on demos of electromagnetism, cathode ray tubes, and a tabletop scanning electron microscope (SEM). These demos were used to explore the concept of an electron, and how it can be manipulated to both record and recreate images.
  • On March 16, 2012 the Corwin Lab and McMorran Lab both hosted a Mad Duck Science Friday for a group of 20 students from Hamlin Middle School. With the help of graduate and undergraduate students, and five Science Partners recruited from South Eugene High School, we explored concepts of force, gravity, acceleration, and impact. We used these concepts to understand what happens to materials under the applied stresses of falling to the ground. With this knowledge, the students were then challenged with dropping an egg from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floor balconies of Willamette Atrium without breaking it. We divided the students into groups of 4-6, with a Mad Duck Science Partner from South Eugene High School acting as a consultant for each group, and provided them with various materials such as styrofoam cups, plastic bags, twigs, straws, toilet paper. In the end, we discussed how all groups converged on a successful dual strategy of minimizing the velocity of the egg before it hits the ground (e.g., using a parachute) and maximizing the time over which it decelerates (e.g., using a crumple cage). After lunch, Ben Wright from the physics demo room performed an exciting 45-minute demonstration of waves, optics, and acoustics (shattering wine glasses with sounds, using a flame tube, showing interference of sound waves).