The scientific concepts of light, polarization and optics are explained through a number of experiments, including creating a giant soap bubble, during the CU Wizards show "Liquid Crystals."

Professors Clark, Walba and Maclennan are researchers in the Liquid Crystal Materials Research Center, an interdisciplinary research unit at CU-Boulder that is one of the world’s leading crystal research centers. The Center is funded in part by a National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center grant.

This free hour-long show, combines physics, chemistry and engineering, is intended primarily for students in grades five through nine. CU Wizards is an annual series that introduces topics in astronomy, chemistry and physics.

"Liquid crystals are goo-like organic materials made of rod-shaped molecules that are sensitive to the polarization of light," Clark says. They are materials that in many ways are between solid and liquid states.

The Wizards demonstrate the optical and electrical properties of liquid crystals and show how they are used in today’s high-tech society to display information in items like laptop computers and digital watches.

During the show, the audience has a chance to see liquid crystals in action with demonstrations of a 20-foot-high soap bubble and parents taking on the role of liquid crystal molecules. They also learn what it means to polarize light waves and how solid materials can change the polarization of light, while getting a quick lesson about colors.

For information about the CU Wizards series call (303) 492-6952 or visit the program's website.



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