Community Outreach

Physics Outreach Committee

The Physics Outreach Committee aims to illustrate the role which physics plays in everyday life to inspire students to look more favorably at physics and science in general. Our hope is to show students that they can use physics to understand the world around them. In particular we try to tailor our demonstrations and hands-on activities toward their areas of interest (music, sports, etc.).

The Physics Outreach Committee hosts several Physics Family Fun Day events each year for the community.  The committee also brings classroom experiences, performs demonstrations and offers hands on activities to local students, both within schools and to home-schooled groups.


Featured Outreach Activity

Physics Family Fun Day

The Physics Outreach Committee aims to illustrate the role which physics plays in everyday life. Our hope is to show students that they can use physics to understand the world around them. In particular we try to tailor our demonstrations and hands-on activities toward their areas of interest (music, sports, etc.).

See All Upcoming Outreach Events

Astronomy on Tap


Astronomy is even better with beer! Scientists, educators, writers, artists & more reveal how they explore the universe at Urban Chestnut Grove Brewery! Each FREE event features accessible, engaging science presentations on topics ranging from planets to black holes to the beginning of the Universe. Presenters are from research and educational institutions like Washington University in St. Louis, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, and more. Each event consists of two 10-15 min talks, followed by questions and comments. There will also be a trivia session with questions related to astronomy. At the end of the night prizes will be handed to the winners! There is always lots of time to ask questions and interact with the presenters and other scientists who tag along for the beer.



For more information, contact: 

Andrés A. Plazas Malagón
@plazasmalagon1 (twitter)

Young Scientist Program

The Young Scientist Program Teaching Teams promote science literacy among students and encourage the pursuit of careers in science by introducing students to areas of scientific study through interactive demonstrations brought into the classroom. Teams of graduate students present the curricula in small groups, fostering a comfortable atmosphere for scientific discussion.

If you would like to request the physics teaching team, visit the Young Scientist Program page.

Physics Family Fun Day

Crow Observatory

Crow Observatory is open evenings to the public in the fall and spring semesters.

Visitors can check here or phone 314-935-6278 during viewing hours to see if the Observatory is open.

Saturday Science Public Lectures

Fall 2022

The Department of Physics will sponsor a series of public lectures in Fall 2022, to be held at 10:00 am on Saturday mornings. The lecture series will be in Crow Hall and on Zoom beginning October 15 through November 5. The Zoom link will be sent via email to our email list before each lecture. To join the email list, please email a request to physics@wustl.edu. Please download the Zoom app to your computer, tablet, or phone before the first lecture to make sure Zoom is working correctly. These lectures, which are free and open to the public, will be presented by faculty members of the Physics Department of Washington University and are tailored for the general public. 

Compton Centennial Celebration

Arthur Holly Compton (September 10, 1892 – March 15, 1962)  was an American physicist who conducted groundbreaking research in Eads Hall here at Washington University in the 1920s. In 1922, as head of the Department of Physics, Compton conducted X-ray scattering experiments that demonstrated the particle nature of electromagnetic radiation. At the time, the idea that light had both wave and particle properties was not easily accepted. Through his research, he explained that each ray behaved as a particle, conserving both energy and momentum in collisions with electrons. This provided the first proof that X-rays—formerly thought to be waves—could also behave as particles, confirming a long-standing, but largely ignored prediction by Albert Einstein. Compton’s discovery stimulated the development of quantum mechanics, and was recognized with the Nobel Prize in 1927.

This fall, the Department of Physics will be celebrating the centennial of that research. There is a display in the lobby at Washington University's Olin Library highlighting him and his research, a lecture was given by Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek, and the Fall 2022 Saturday Science Lecture Series will be focusing on Compton, his research, and his impact. Please join us in celebrating Compton's achievements.


Previous Saturday Science Lectures

To be added to the Saturday Science mailing list, please contact physics@wustl.edu

Garv Chauhan

"The WashU Physics Department has helped me integrate into the physics research community over the past two years through their PhD program. The welcoming environment and the vibrant graduate student community helps you maintain a healthy balance in your work-life. This place makes me feel excited about the cutting edge research in other fields, too, in addition to mine. As physicists, I believe it's our duty to contribute to our society by illustrating the importance of physics. As a member of the outreach initiative from the department, I help organize and demonstrate physics in everyday life to school students through our "Physics Family Fun Day" events. It's great fun and a wonderful experience to be a part of this!"

―Garv ChauhanPhD Candidate

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