Tibidabo Amusement Park turns into a large scientific laboratory
Over 2000 students conduct experiments on the park’s rides and shows, in a day organised with the UPC Engineering Physics Department
Tibidabo Amusement Park turned into a large science laboratory today. The Fisidabo experimentation day, jointly organised by the park and the UPC Engineering Physics Department, let over 2000 students in year 4 of compulsory secondary and in higher secondary conduct diverse physics experiments using the rides.
Councillor Eloi Badia, president of Barcelona de Serveis Municipals (B:SM) and PATSA, stressed the importance of ‘Tibidabo Amusement Park transforming into a large research centre to bring science closer to students’. Badia also commented that ‘it is a privilege to be able to establish such an activity with the UPC, making the park available to science and education so that year 4 of compulsory secondary and higher secondary students can experience and experiment with physics first-hand’.
On his part, UPC rector Francesc Torres was pleased that ‘collaboration with the city lets closer links be created with the educational community’ and ‘bringing science and engineering to youth is excellent for encouraging career choices among students'.
The purpose of this day is for students to learn about physics by actively taking part in the learning process in a fun and entertaining setting. Thus, those concepts that may be difficult to explain on a blackboard can be experienced live and first-hand, and students can calculate and measure the concepts. The experiments conducted include—for example—calculating the feeling of weightlessness on the Pirate ride and the circular movement of the Diavolo.
The Fisidabo Hipàtia project was also held, in which three groups of international advanced secondary groups from the CELLEX Science and Maths programme conducted the experiment that they created and designed. Last year, two of the Fisidabo Hipàtia projects were published in the European Journal of Physics.
Weekend scientific activities
On the 14th and 15th, all visitors to the park could enjoy a wide range of science shows and workshops, in which experiments were done along with learning about important scientists like Archimedes, Newton and Stephen Hawking.
The activities held were:
Lights and photons: clown show in which participants become light photons to immerse themselves in quantum physics and the Schrödinger’s cat experiment.
Coriolis force and planets: on the Tibidabo Airplane we can prove how it is possible for a plane to fly from Barcelona to Sydney while the Earth is spinning.
Optics and perception: On Miramiralls, with water, glass, glycerine, a curved mirror and a lens that created optical illusions, we will discover how light reflects and refracts to form images. But sometimes what we see is not reality!
Pendulum and mass: Via simple experiments we will discover that nature is full of pendulums both large and small, like the Pirate ship, where we feel the same sensation as the astronauts at a space station.
Newton and energy: how to make a rocket fly? We will experiment with energy by making a water bottle fly by using a simple bicycle pump.
Water and Archimedes: If we put a piece of iron into a bucket full of water, the iron will sink to the bottom. So why don’t iron ships sink?
Stars of Stephen Hawking: We paint stars, planetary nebulae and galaxies on paper and, in parallel, pay a small homage to Stephen Hawking.
Chemistry and the elements: We are all made up of very tiny things: chemistry. Support to the painting workshop.
Natural sciences: Two scientists explain different science concepts using different dynamics such as stories and micro-participative workshops.
On Sunday 15 April there was a closing ceremony hosted by all the scientists from the previous activities. This is a hands-on participative show in which visitors could experiment with liquid nitrogen and see how it can behave like magic, all in a festive setting.