• STEM News Tip: Physics Today Features Music & Acoustics for International Year of Sound

    December’s issue of Physics Today has a special theme, celebrating the International Year of Sound. The cover features art from Ray Walker’s Hackney Peace Mural in London; topical articles range from acoustic reproduction in historical and cultural preservation, to acoustics in climate change research.

     Sponsored by the International Commission on Acoustics, the International Year of Sound is an education and outreach project to promote understanding of the science of sound and of acoustic best practices.

  • STEM News Tip: Quantum Fireside Chat with Nobel Laureate Bill Phillips

    On September 22, Prof. Bill Phillips and Dr. Laurie Loccascio will present a virtual fireside chat, “Quantum Basics for the Curious.” This event, hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Quantum Alliance, will explore Prof. Phillips’ research and how he came to win the Nobel Prize, an introduction to quantum mechanics, and the future of quantum physics and technology.

    The Mid-Atlantic Quantum Alliance launched in January with a ceremony in Annapolis; and focuses on cross-disciplinary collaborations in quantum technology. The MQA consortium includes UMD and other USM institutions, and other academic, government, and industrial research centers.

    Read more:

  • STEM News Tip: Sci-Fi Costumes at Air&Space Museum

    Dress for Success in Space this Halloween!

    On Thursday October 29 at 1PM, the National Air and Space Museum will offer a Live Chat with science fiction costume experts. They'll be discussing the prop and costumes of Star Wars, Star Trek, and other science fiction media.

    Join in at

    This is all part of their extended Air& Scare at Home virtual Halloween program; read more about it here:

  • STEM News Tip: Solar Observer webcast this week!

    Breaking news! The Solar Orbiter, the joint ESA-NASA probe that launched earlier this year, has collected its first measurements on its first close pass to the sun and has sent back its first data and images. There will be a live webcast at 8AM EDT on Thursday July 16 to share the results. Be sure to check it out at .

    Solar Orbiter Liftoff February 2020 (NASA)

    The Solar Observer (nicknamed SolO, but it is not at all scruffy-looking) is in an eccentric orbit around the Sun, It will swing close to the sun every 6 months for close-up photos and other data collection, then back out into the colder reaches of space again. Every few orbits, it passes by Venus, potentially using Venus’s own gravity to boost SolO into a different orbit to get a different angle on the Sun.

     In addition to cameras, spectrometers, and other imaging sensors, SolO carries a sophisticated magnetometer and particle detectors to analyze the Sun’s magnetosphere. Goals of the project include a better understanding of the structure of the Sun and the space around it, the origins of solar wind, and the behaviour of solar eruptions.


    Read more:

    Press release:

    Mission homepage:

    Goddard analysis of SolO’s orbit

  • STEM News Tip: Space, Sun, Stones, and Streaming

    For millenia, humans have watched the skies and used physical reasoning to predict the apparent motion of the sun and stars. Sometimes, they would use this knowledge to build structures that aligned with the sun on certain days, such as the summer or winter solstice. Such places that have survived are often popular tourist attractions... which makes them a terrible place to visit this year!

    So instead, check out some solstice webcams:

    Read more about solstices, equinoxes, and the seasons at NASA

  • STEM News Tip: SPS Virtual Colloquium

    This just in: The Society of Physics Students national office is launching a Virtual Colloquium series for the fall! 

    The first colloquium will be held this week, at 3PM on Wednesday August 12. The speaker will be Dr. Renee Horton of NASA and the National Society of Black Physicists. Check out the SPS Twitter feed for details here! And follow SPS on twitter to hear about more upcoming events!

  • STEM News Tip: Upcoming SPS Virtual Colloquium with Dr. Nicole Gugliucci

    This Thursday, Oct 22, at 3PM Eastern, the Society of Physics Students will host an online Colloquium via zoom: “Radios for Jupiter: Learning to Teach while Building a Radio Telescope.” Presenting will be Dr. Nicole Gugliucci, Assistant Professor of Physics at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, and St. Anselm undergraduates Ana Morrison and Nate Letteri.

     The event is free and open to all. They will discuss the Radio JOVE Project, a citizen science program where students build their own instrumentation and contribute to radio astronomy observations.

     Dr. Gugliucci is also the SPS Zone Councilor for Zone 1. She received her PhD from the University of Virginia in 2012, and has published on radio astronomy and science education. She is also a popular science communicator, presenting on New Hampshire Public Radio and at multiple science fiction conventions.

    Read more:


  • STEM News Tip: Upcoming Virtual Events with UMD Science

    A great many exciting events coming up this month in UMD science! The University of Maryland strives to present important and informative programs across the sciences.

    Prof. Ellen Williams will present a special UMD Physics Colloquium on November 10: “Science meets politics: The status of clean energy innovation in Maryland.” Prof. Williams is lead author on the recent Maryland Energy Innovation Institute report to the state of Maryland on the present and future of energy programs. Check out the event at the Colloquium page: and learn more about the report at the MEI² site.

    On Friday, November 13, the CMNS Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council and the Clark School Diversity Council will co-host a virtual film screening and discussion of the film "Picture a Scientist" on the progress and challenges facing women in science. Register at

    On Tuesday November 17 will be the Shih-I Pai Lecture featuring Alán Aspuru-Guzik of the University of Toronto’s Matter Lab. The Shih-I Pai Lecture celebrates important research related to fluid and plasma dynamics in memory of the late Prof. Pai. Prof. Aspuru-Guzik will present on “Where Computational Science Meets Experiment: Self-Driving Laboratories for Materials Discovery,” including innovations in materials and pharmaceuticals research. Visit the Matter Lab at , and see more about the event at the Physics Colloquium page:

     And looking further ahead, on Friday November 20th Prof Thomas of IREAP will present his Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Lecture "Optics and Electronics in Flatland: The Surprising Capabilities of 2D Materials."

     See the CMNS Calendar for details and registration:

  • STEM News Tip: Updates on Fall Webinars and Virtual Talks from Scientific Organizations

    There are multiple sets of exciting online events to check out this fall!

    First off, we’ve reported before on the American Physical Society’s webinar series. They have established several webinar series, and many of their past recordings are also available online. You can visit the individual series pages for videos and to watch for postings of new events

    APS Webinar Series: Making Physics Inclusive and Equitable

    APS Webinar Series: Career Development for International Physicists

    APS Webinar Series: Engaging the Public through Science

    APS Webinar Series: Physics Career Exploration


    The American Institute of Physics’ Center for History of Physics hosts the Lynne Starling Trimble History of Science lecture series, which focuses on historians and writers exploring the role of science in modern society and culture. Their website has the schedule of upcoming events and links to recordings of past lectures.

     Lyne Starling Trimble History of Science Public Lectures


    Physics Today magazine hosts a series of webinars on important developments and issues in physics. Upcoming topics include the Casimir effect, the fluid dynamics of sharks, and methods of teaching quantum physics.


    The American Association for the Advancement of Science also hosts online public lectures, live chats, and virtual conferences on issues in science and science policy.


    The Linda Hall Library hosts virtual events in a variety of science and technology areas. Upcoming talks include the spread of banned books in early modern Europe (including Copernicus), the history of relativity, and the impact of climate change on whalesong.


    Finally, The Carnegie Institution for Science is hosting a series of virtual talks on scientific topics. Upcoming events include Dr. Timothy Strobel on metastable materials, Dr. John O’Keefe on the hippocampus, and Dr. Alycia Weinberger on infrared spectrography.

    Carnegie Science Upcoming Events

    Carnegie Lecture Archive



  • STEM News Tip: Webinar Series

    In these times of pandemic and stress, it can be hard to stay in touch with what’s happening in the field. But the shift to online events does also give us the opportunity to learn from people we might not otherwise have access to. Here are some ongoing series of webinars worth checking out.


    • Las Positas College and Lawrence Livermore National Lab offer online seminars: Theory to Practice: How Science is Done


    •  Jet Propulsion Lab offers Teaching Space With NASA, with monthly webinars and periodic in-depth virtual workshops


    • The Solar Decathalon project hosts virtual talks on topics around energy and the environment


    • Lawrence Berkeley Lab offers career talks with a variety of guest experts


  • STEM News Tip: Winter Solstice 2020

    The solstice is coming! As many of us are very ready to say goodbye to 2020, we in the northern hemisphere will have the shortest of its days (while our southern hemisphere friends will have the longest). The official moment of the solstice will come at 5:02AM Monday morning, December 21.

    The winter solstice is the point at which the Earth's axis of rotation is pointed farthest away from the sun for this hemisphere, and thus the other hemisphere is pointed closest to the sun for their summer solstice. It's traditionally been called but the first day of winter, and midwinter day, contradictorilly; but in terms of winter weather, we've certainly already had some for a few days now! It's long been an event marked by festivities, as we mentioned in our previous blogpost.

    Also, for this weekend and through the solstice, keep an eye out for the Ursid meteors, which typically are at their peak this time of year. Read more about them at Earth&Sky.

  • UMD Physics Summer Programs 2021

    UMD Physics will be hosting virtual outreach programs this summer! There will be programs for several grade levels, in elementary, middle, and high schools. Preregistration is required for these workshops.

     Check out all the details at

     And read up on other summer programs around campus: 


  • UMD Research Commons workshops return for 2021


    The Research Commons is a division of the UMD Libraries that offers training and support for a variety of tasks related to research and learning, including citations, mapping, and data organization.

    One of their most valuable offerings for students is their Common Quandaries workshops. These one-time classes, currently offered online, teach the basics of many tasks and software needed for research but that often aren't covered in traditional departmental coursework. Workshops are offered every semester, and the offerings for spring have begun to be posted.

    Workshops available this semester so far include using LaTEX and writing literature reviews. Also, slides and teaching materials from past workshops are archived online, so you can explore topics on your own time.

    Check them out at


  • Upcoming Events at UMD Physics!

    Welcome to the fall semester at UMD Physics!

    We are planning many exciting outreach events coming up this year, and we hope you’ll join us!

    On Saturday October 12 as part of the Maryland STEM Festival, we’ll host Fly With Physics, a special event in the spirit of Physics is Phun with demonstrations and hands-on activities about flight, rocketry, and motion in the air.

    C5 17

    Also in October, the UMD Society of Physics Students will present their annual fundraiser event Spooky Science on October 27!

    DSC 5168A

     And there are two events coming up in December! On December 7, our popular Physics Discovery Days: Quantum Kids returns! This is a program for upper elementary students exploring the ideas of quantum mechanics. And on December 13 and 14, we will present Physics is Phun: The Physics of Fantastic Worlds, looking at science through the lens of popular science fiction and fantasy.

     There’s more still to come! In February, Physics Discovery Day returns with Nanoscience on February 8, and Physics is Phun will be back in March!

     And importantly, don’t forget to come see us at Maryland Day on April 25 for lots of exciting demonstrations and presentations at Physics and around the whole campus.

     Watch for details on these events coming soon on our Outreach Page, and sign up for our mailing list. Also, watch for announcements on the mailing list and on our Twitter feed.

  • Welcome to Spring 2020

    A model eyeball demonstration asks: Do you have 2020 vision?

    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. Be sure also to check out some of our new and revised demonstrations, here in the blog and on the demo pages.

    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 have some exciting outreach programs coming up this season! In February, we'll be presenting a Physics is Phun program, The Physics of Fantastic Worlds; and a Discovery Day program, Quantum Kids. More programs will follow later in the spring, culminating with Maryland Day, which this year will include both our famous liquid nitrogen ice cream and another Physics is Phun presentation.

    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.