The Oregon Country Fair (OCF) is a 3-day festival in wooded farmland outside of Eugene that attracts artists, inventors, performers, musicians, artisans, and merchants. It’s sort of a mix between Burning Man, Coachella, Woodstock, and your local coffee shop, but in the shade and with an Oregon twist. There were people there of all ages, all political parties, all all ancestries, all sexual orientations, and all religions (ranging from New Age to Stone Age), from all across the country and world. We met old school hippies, ex-hippies, wannabe hippies, and hippie lovers, as well as Libertarians, farmers, cowboys, preppers, and survivalists. I got the distinct feeling that a lot of hermits in Oregon make this one of their few annual outings. But also lots of families, kids, and students. The one uniting quality amongst all these people was that they were generally all creative types. Suffice it say that this festival of creativity presents a golden opportunity to discuss physics and its relevance to these folks’ interests.
The UO Department of Physics booth resides in the OCF Energy Park. By entering the park, visitors have self-selected themselves as interested in alternative energies. Visitors to our booth could learn about the physical concepts at play in various energy conversion technologies.