University Lowbrow Astronomers

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Lowbrows at Saturday Morning Physics

During the fall and winter, the University of Michigan Physics Department hosts a series of multimedia presentations called Saturday Morning Physics. These presentations are aimed at the general public. Generally you can find several Lowbrows in attendance. (The Lowbrows are an amateur astronomy club based in Ann Arbor).

Saturday, December 11, 2010 was a “Physics Day of Celebration!” That day the physics department showcased and celebrated many of the things, both past and present, that have excited faculty, students, and alumni over the years at the Physics Department.

9:45 AM American Physical Society Presentation. From 1928-1941, Michigan Physics played host to some of the country’s greatest minds—Fermi, Bohr, and Oppenheimer, for example—for the annual Michigan Summer Symposium in Theoretical Physics. The American Physical Society designated Randall Laboratory as one of 20 historical sites in honor of the work conducted at Michigan during that time. For more information, read the story “Summer School for Geniuses” in Michigan Today at

10:30 AM “An Experiment to Explore the Mysteries of Space: The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the International Space Station.” University of Michigan Physics Alumnus Samuel C. C. Ting (BSE ’50, PhD ’63) of M.I.T. presented the 2010 Ta-You Wu Lecture in Physics. Ting is the architect of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, an instrument scheduled for launch in February that will search for signatures of dark matter and an answer to the question: What is the universe made of?

Sam Ting and Angelica Cardew

Sam Ting and Angelica Cardew

1:30 PM “We Own Frictionless Surfaces: The Physics of Hockey.” As a prelude to the Big Chill (the hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State held later in the day), vistors learned about the physics of shooting, skating, and checking. Chair of the Physics Department Brad Orr and lecturer David Winn—both recreational hockey players themselves—gave a dynamic public lecture with demonstrations about the world’s fastest sport. Here is a sneak peak of the lecture on

Brad Orr playing Hockey with Visitors

Brad Orr playing Hockey with Visitors just outside the Dennison Building.
(Photo taken just before the “We Own Frictionless Surfaces: The Physics of Hockey” talk).

3:00 PM The Big Chill Simulcast. The Department offered a warmer, more comfortable alternative to the Michigan Stadium bleachers for watching the Big Chill as the University of Michigan and Michigan State University hockey teams set the world record for attendance at a hockey game.

Other Saturday Morning Physics Photos

Photo Credits

For more information...

See the Saturday Morning Physics Page.


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