The Cosmic Ray Observatory Project (CROP) is a teacher enhancement program with scientific links to the Pierre Auger cosmic ray study. Each summer, Profs. Greg Snow and Dan Claes play host to high school teachers and students from around Nebraska who come to campus to learn about cosmic rays and to develop the detection/GIS systems necessary to install cosmic ray detectors on their high-school roof tops and to use these systems to help acquire data from high-energy cosmic ray showers.
Project Fulcrum is a teacher-scientist-teacher educator collaboration that will place graduate and undergraduate science students from the University of Nebraska in grades 3 - 8 in the Lincoln Public Schools to form partnerships with teachers. One of its many goals is to enhance students' opportunities to learn science by increasing access to inquiry-driven experiences in content areas that satisfy national and state science standards.
Football Physics debuted during the 1999 season. At each home game, Prof. Timothy Gay presented a 60-second physics lesson via HuskerVision to a stadium full of 76,000 plus fans. Since ending the segments after the 2001 season, the concept has gone international with the NFL.
Astronomers hold an Astronomy Education Workshop each fall. Visiting astronomers are on campus, and area high school and college instructors of either physics or astronomy are invited to participate. During the summer, high school students have the opportunity to attend a week long Astronomy Camp held on campus.
In addition to annual activities, public nights are held throughout the year at both observatories maintained by the Physics and Astronomy Department. Behlen Observatory, located near Mead, NE, hosts an open house each fall and spring. Weather permitting, the public can view the stars through the 30-inch reflecting telescope. The Student Observatory (shown at left) located on campus, contains a 16-inch telescope and holds public viewings on a monthly basis.
In the Department's Saturday Science program, fifth and sixth-grade children spend two hours in the UNL Department of Physics and Astronomy for four consecutive Saturdays during the month of February. One hour is spent listening to a presentation by a university faculty member on a specific topic (spinning tops, electricity and magnetism, color and light, to name a few) and then the students spend the second hour working in small groups where they conduct hands-on experiments related to the same concept(s).