Program Information


If you have any questions or would like to schedule a show, please contact one of the following:

Program Coordinator: James Giammona:
Faculty Sponsor: Jean Carlson:

or to arrange a visit to the CSEP Science Center (CSC) contact Sana'a Rupert at: sana (at) cnsi . ucsb . edu  

Our Goals

The Physics Circus has several goals, and they all come together in our shows. These are:

School Program

The Show.  The Physics Circus program has two formats.

The first one is a demonstration show. The narrator of the show guides the performance from one physics demonstration to another, asking for volunteers from among the students as often as possible. The purpose of the narrator is to connect the concepts and keep the show exciting. There are usually six main demonstration topics with many demonstrations within each topic. Each performance is aimed for an audience of up to 130 elementary students.

The second format is intended for science nights. In this form, the physics circus is much more interactive, with students coming up to see the demos up close. There are six stations which groups of students rotate around. Each station has several demonstrations on one main topic, and each has a narrator of its own. While we encourage students to go through all the demos, the flow in this case is much more free, so sometimes not all students see all demos (especially because science nights tend to include other presenters that might catch the students' attention!).

Both formats cover the same topics: conservation of linear and angular momentum, electricity, magnetism, air pressure, sound, and temperature (liquid nitrogen).

The Physics Circus is named after Jearl Walker's book The Flying Circus of Physics.

The Collaboration.  We are happy to work with the teachers in the classroom to connect the show to their learning. We have developed some pre- and post-activities. The purpose of the activities is three fold. First, the students will be prepared to predict science phenomena and explain basic concepts. Second, the teacher will be able to know what will be going on in the demonstration show and will know how to incorporate it into his/her current curriculum. Finally, we will be able to know the teacher's curriculum and incorporate it into the demonstration explanations.