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Central Visits Bill Berner’s Physics Demonstration Show

Professor Mary Marcupol demonstrates the potential energy of a garage spring using her weight. | PC: Anna Bokarev (280)

On Thursday, January 9th, several of Central’s chemistry and physics classes joined other Philadelphia high schools on a trip to the University of Pennsylvania’s David Rittenhouse Laboratory for Bill Burner’s annual Physics Demonstration Show. Bill Berner, Peter Harnish, and Mary Marcupol, all professors at the university, demonstrated basic concepts of physics, such as Newton’s laws, using everyday objects. 

Professor Berner began the presentation by first explaining Newton’s laws while Professor Marcupol aided with demonstrations. While wearing roller skates, Marcupol swiftly moved across the auditorium with several visuals including demonstrations of springs, artificial wind pushing a small and crafted sailboat, and toy cars knocking into each other. At one point, Professor Marcupol hung a garage spring on the ceiling that held what appeared to be a swing seat. Using a ladder, Professor Marcupol sat on the seat hanging from the ceiling. Professor Berner used one finger to push Professor Marcopol vertically to demonstrate how her swift movement affects the energy of the spring. After summarizing most concepts found in a basic physics’ textbook through this two hour demonstration, Berner left the students with the thought that “every line of every paragraph of every textbook is someone’s life’s work.”

In addition to demonstration shows such as this one, the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Temple University, the Community College of Pennsylvania, and the University of the Sciences offer plenty of lectures and events open to the public. For high schoolers specifically, these and other colleges offer programs lasting from one day to several weeks of class on specific fields of interest, including engineering, English, computer programming, etc. Short two-week summer classes are available to high school students looking to get a head start on the college experience as well. Some courses like these help students begin their academic future by providing the opportunity to gain college credits, as well as preparing them for what’s to come. 


Anna Bokarev (280) & Algjerta Profka (280)

News Editor & Staff Writer


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