Nuclear Astrophysics -- From Weapons to Art
JINA staff and students at Notre Dame participated in 4 events this week. Two of the events were part of ongoing "Art 2 Science" after school programs. Children, ages 5-10, learn about nuclear science and astronomy through hands-on arts and crafts projects.
Wednesday evening, the JINA director gave a public talk on the history of nuclear weapons at a Science Cafe in South Bend.
Thursday evening, JINA went to a local library to engage children (and their parents) in the nature of nuclear astrophysics through demonstrations and hands-on activities. The favorite activity (as judged by crowds) was the gravity-based particle accelerator. In this activity, magnetic marbles are used to model the nucleus. Children choose an energy (height) to start and drop their nucleus into the accelerator. At the bottom, it smashes into another nucleus, creating something new. The children then identify their new isotope on the chart of the nuclides. Scientists also discussed career paths with children and parents.