Graduate students spark public interest in electricity

By: Blaine Friedlander,  Cornell Chronicle
Sun, 11/19/2017

Josue San Emeterio – a doctoral student in physics – is part magician, a wedge of wizard and fraction of illusionist. At the Science Cabaret Nov. 14 at Ithaca’s Coltivare restaurant, he held a packed room rapt for one hour.

San Emeterio and a merry band of graduate student physicists – thanks to the Cornell educational outreach group XRaise – demonstrated electricity with Van de Graaf generators that allowed people to see sparks, a Tesla coil attached to a musical keyboard that played notes with electricity and a Helmholtz coil to demonstrate magnetism. There was a salad bowl accelerator, a Faraday cage and a ring launcher.

During a magnetism and light demonstration, a teen in the audience noticed the fluorescent bulb dimmed when held far from the magnetic source. San Emeterio quipped: “One over r-squared catches up with you very quickly.”

The physicist enjoys bringing science to a broad audience. “I think it is a wonderful and unique opportunity to be able to engage the community and get them interested in science or at least get them to appreciate science,” said San Emeterio. “It was great seeing people of all ages be interested in the topic and wanting to learn more.”

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle

Physics graduate students