Fermilab's Family Open House is a chance for the whole family to spend an afternoon learning about science in a hands-on way and have fun doing it.
This year's event, running from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, will mark Fermilab's milestone anniversary with a new show and several activities for kids and their parents to enjoy.
New this year is a show called Dynamic Forces, with Fermilab scientists Jamie Santucci and Andrew Dalesandro. This show will explore everyday forces and electromagnetism in an entertaining way.
As usual, Fermilab's Jerry Zimmerman, better known as "Mr. Freeze," will also perform, demonstrating the cool effects of liquid nitrogen, and about a dozen scientists will be ready to answer questions in the exhibit area on the 15th floor of Wilson Hall.
In the atrium, families can enjoy a "physics carnival," including interactive exhibits by students from six area schools: West Aurora High School, Quincy Notre Dame High School, Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Rochelle Township High School, Christian Life High School in Rockford and Northside College Preparatory School in Chicago.
Fermilab's Remote Operations Center on the first floor of Wilson Hall will also be accessible for the Open House. Many of Fermilab's experiments are controlled from this room, and there will be operators at their stations, all of them ready to talk about the work they are doing.
Next door to that operations center, a panel of lab employees will present an interactive talk about their day-to-day jobs.
New this year is a guided bus tour of the Fermilab site, during which you can learn about the lab's rich history of scientific discovery and its promising future. Tour highlights will include several experimental sites, as well as a visit to a bubble chamber, a historical trip through the Fermilab Village and, of course, a chance to see the lab's herd of bison. Stops will be made along the tour, weather permitting.
Also new is a virtual tour of the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, the future home of Fermilab's flagship, the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. Tours will also be given of the Linear Accelerator and Main Control Room.
Registration is required for all tours, and spaces are limited. There will be opportunities for tours even if spaces fill up.
"The Family Open House is a great opportunity for kids of all ages to experience science in an up-close and fun way," said Amanda Early, education program leader at Fermilab. "We hope this event inspires children to pursue science as an interest, or even as a career, and to think of it as something approachable and enjoyable."
The Family Open House is free. More than 2,000 people are expected to attend this year's event. It is made possible by an anonymous donor to the nonprofit organization Fermilab Friends for Science Education.
Fermilab is at Pine Street and Kirk Road in Batavia. Visit www.fnal.gov for details.