Summer Sundays 2012

This fall, the BNL community can look back at the successful 2012 Summer Sundays program, which brought more than 5,400 visitors to learn about the Lab’s cutting-edge science and see its world-class facilities. The Science Learning Center, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) and NSLS-II, the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) each welcomed visitors on one of four Sundays in July and August. All facilities received record-breaking crowds, making this one of the busiest Summer Sundays programs ever.

Visitors varied from neighbors in local communities to guests from around the world. Students came — some from Hong Kong, others from Russia. Other groups included Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, a second annual singles club “meet up,” and a Cooper Union College alumni get-together that drew members from all over the Tri-State area.

New activities included a outdoor concert featuring foot-tapping rock, jazz, and blues bands comprised of or led by BNL employees, a roundup of magnificent bikes from BERA’s Cycletron Club, a display of amazing vehicles from the Antique & Classic Motoring Club, and an exciting exhibit from the Photography Club. A new, interactive “Online Science Classroom” from Russia coordinated by RHIC collaborator Yuri Panebrattsev, was featured on three of the four weeks. Many visitors also tried to “Stump the Physicist” — so many in fact, that the volunteer physicists were unable to break for lunch and were answering questions from 10 a.m. straight through to 4:30 p.m.

This year’s program also included a visit from Timothy Hallman, associate director for Nuclear Physics of DOE’s Office of Science, who educated visitors on the important role of the Office of Science, and the SciGirls — a PBS-TV show with online activities aimed at sparking “tweenage” girls’ interest in science, technology, engineering and Math (STEM) and encouraging them to join the “SciGirl” Revolution.

Science talks given on each Sunday included a variety of subjects such as the “Wild Side” of the Long Island Solar Farm, climate change, the incredible tools utilized to see things on the nanoscale, and BNL’s work on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland.

Laser lights were spectacular, science was magic, and of course physics was phenomenal again with Mr. Fish in the Berkner Hall auditorium. The Bio Bus that rolled in, fueled by veggie oil and solar power, showed off its laboratory on wheels featuring a recently added scanning electron microscope. 

Said Nora Detweiler, who organizes Summer Sundays, “The program had a great deal to offer visitors of all ages. At the end of each Sunday the visitors were given surveys to complete, and the most common answer to the question ‘What did you find MOST interesting about your visit?’ was how knowledgeable and friendly the BNL staff is. That says a lot and points to why the Summer Sundays program works so well year after year. It’s a testament to those of you who dedicate your time to participate in the program and welcome our guests with kindness and enthusiasm for your programs.” 

Continued Detweiler, “I would like to send out a very big ‘Thank You’ to the more than 400 volunteers from BNL’s scientists, staff, facility users, and students, as well as DOE representatives — who all took time out of their own summer Sundays to introduce or reintroduce BNL to so many wide-eyed visitors and ensure another great success for the program in 2012.

2012-3326  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom