SCIENCE FOR EVERYBODY: At the January 19 Science on Saturdays lecture at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab (PPPL), the topic was “Magnetic Universe.” PPPL Director Professor Steve Cowley and Science Education Physicist Dr. Arturo Dominguez had assistance from a youthful member of the audience. (Photo by Elle Starkman)
By Anne Levin
At the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory’s (PPPL) Ronald E. Hatcher Science on Saturdays Lecture Series, audience members might be as young as 9 and as old as 90. The popular talks on a range of scientific subjects have been attracting people curious about all aspects of science for more than three decades.
“The fact that we average nearly 300 a lecture is a testament to the community,” said Andrew Zwicker, who heads PPPL’s communications and public outreach (and is also a Democratic assemblyman for the 16th district). “Last year a gentleman celebrated his 90th birthday at one of the lectures. And we have a physician who gave a lecture a week and a half ago on the science of joint replacement (Dr. Christina Gutowski of Cooper University Healthcare), who went to Science on Saturday when she was a little girl.”
PPPL is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory managed by Princeton University. The lecture series was started 34 years ago by PPPL physicists. “They wanted to have representatives from all branches of science, who are at the cutting-edge of research, present their results to the interested public,” said Zwicker. “They started with just a couple of lectures, and now there are nine every year, on Saturday mornings. They are very popular.” more