• Highlight of the Week
  • MD STEM Fest: Flight!
  • Demonstrations
  • Popular Demonstrations by Class
  • Did you know?
  • Welcome to Spring 2020

Ready for a fun kinematics experiment you can watch from the comfort of home?

Demonstration C2-11: The Racing Balls is one of our most popular kinematics demonstrations, as it presents an interesting conundrum.

two balls each rolling on a track; one track is straight, the other dips down and then returns to the initial height

We have two long tracks, on which a pair of equal-mass billiard balls can roll with very little friction. At one end is a spring-loaded launcher that can send the balls rolling down the tracks with the same initial speed. One of the tracks remains straight and level all the way to the end. The other slopes down to a lower height, runs level at that height for a short distance, then slopes back up to the original level again.

 The challenge for you all is to predict what will happen when the balls reach the end of the track: will the ball on the straight track reach the end first, will the ball on the dipped track reach the end first, or will the get there at the same time?

 Think about this for a while before you click here to see what happens.


STEMFest Flight

On Saturday, October 12, as part of the Maryland State STEM Festival, UMD Physics Outreach presented a program on FLIGHT at the John S. Toll Physics Building from 10AM-1PM. We discussed the science behind how things fly, experienced the famous physics demos, and built our own aircraft!

Download the Flyer! and see the final report!


Did you know...

that our ever-popular Beaker Breaker demonstration has been used not only in PHYS102: The Physics of Music, but also in classes ranging from PHYS106 to PHYS260, PHYS272, PHYS273, and even PHYS401 and PHYS420? Consider how you could incorporate this exciting demonstration into your class!  

A beaker about to shatter due to sound resonance

It's a demonstration of sound and resonance, but can also be used to show the effects of energy and the properties of materials.

When introducing topics around resonance, it can also be fun to combine it with H3-62: Teacup Standing Waves, to show off the physics in a hands-on way before starting the destruction.



Welcome to the Spring 2020 semester! We're looking forward to assisting you with your physics class demonstration needs this year.

You can learn about demonstrations through the demonstration index here on our website; both the demonstrations and the order forms can be found in the Demonstration Services menu.

The order form has been updated this year! Please remember to order your demonstrations before the cutoff deadline for the order form system: For morning classes, before 1PM the previous working day; for afternoon classes, before 4AM the day of the class. We are happy to meet with you to plan and review demonstrations; call or email us to set up a time to meet.

We would love to have more faculty, staff, and students involved in demo-related outreach activities. If you have an idea or want to participate in spring outreach or summer programs, please let us know