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Science Day at the U

Faculty members provide advice on science majors and science-related careers such as geology during the annual Science Day at the U, which is the University of Utah's largest student recruitment event, usually drawing about 800 high school students from Utah and Idaho.

What: Utah and Idaho high school students attend science workshops and get academic advice about attending college at the University of Utah

Date: Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011

Time: 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Place: Olpin Union Building and various classrooms on the University of Utah campus


Hundreds of Utah and Idaho high school students will get an introduction to education and research opportunities at the University of Utah during the 23rd annual Science Day at the U on Saturday, Nov. 12.

The event is hosted by the university’s College of Science and College of Mines and Earth Sciences, in cooperation with the Natural History Museum of Utah.

Science Day is the university’s largest student recruitment event. There is no cost to students, parents or educators. Lunch is provided. High school students may attend simply by registering online at until Nov. 10 at noon MST.

News media representatives are invited to cover the event in the Olpin Union Building and science buildings on main campus.

Science Day at the U will begin at 8 a.m. in the Union Building with student check-in and research poster displays, followed by a 9 a.m. opening reception and welcome by Pierre Sokolsky, dean of the College of Science, and a keynote talk by chemistry professor Tom Richmond, who will punctuate his remarks with demonstrations of chemical explosions.

Students will receive academic advice about specific majors, science-related careers and undergraduate research offered by each university science department.

Parents and teachers may attend a presentation by the Office of Student Recruitment and High School Services: “University Admissions 101: How to Prepare Your Student for College,” at 12:45 p.m. in the Union Building Saltair Room.

The student recruitment office also will provide free general campus tours to those interested beginning at 1:30 p.m. Tours start at the Union Building.

Students will attend science workshops in their areas of interest presented by university faculty. These presentations may be of particular interest to news media:

  • 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. and again at 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “Physics in Action,” by physics lecture demonstration specialist Adam Beehler in the James Fletcher Building, room 101. Students will be treated to an array of experiments and demos that educate and entertain. Topics will include gravity, velocity, electromagnetism and properties of air. Beehler will shoot a ping-pong ball through three soda cans and explain electricity using a Tesla coil.
  • 10:45 to 11:30 a.m., “Explosives and Explosions,” by chemistry Professor Chuck Wight, Henry Eyring Building, room 2008. Wight will discuss explosives and how they work, including selected demonstrations of explosions. Bring your earplugs!
  • 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., “Cosmic Rays in the Desert,” by Julie Callahan, research technician in physics and astronomy, James Fletcher Building, room 102.

High-energy cosmic rays pack a punch: the subatomic particles can hold 10 million times more energy than particles moving within accelerators on Earth. Students will see cosmic rays in cloud chambers, and learn about the Telescope Array cosmic ray observatory near Delta, Utah.

Science Day also will feature industry workshops, where students can learn what it is like to work in science industries from engineers at Rio Tinto-Kennecott Utah Copper, the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services and the Stoel Rives law firm.

Science Day at the U attracts more than 800 students, parents and educators from as far north as Soda Springs, Idaho, and as far south as Blanding, Utah. It often is the first experience these students have on a university campus.

“We continue to draw large numbers of students from rural areas in the state – students willing to travel several hours each way to attend Science Day,” says Lisa Batchelder, program coordinator. “This event is very worthwhile. We are offering 49 workshop sessions that cover 28 specific research topics.”

Rio Tinto-Kennecott Utah Copper is sponsoring the event, and company representatives will be on hand to meet students and parents about education and employment opportunities.

For more information, and to register, please contact the College of Science at (801) 581-6958 or visit to obtain a complete schedule of events.