Science & Tech

2023 Texas A&M Physics & Engineering Festival April 1

This free, family-friendly event opens the wonders of science and technology to the community with hands-on demonstrations and more.
By Shana K. Hutchins, Texas A&M University College of Arts and Sciences March 15, 2023

children in the audience during one of the science experiments at the Physics and Engineering Festival
Texas A&M Physics & Engineering Festival


Texas A&M University invites audiences across Texas, the nation and the world to get up-close and personal with science and technology outreach at the 2023 Physics and Engineering Festival, set for Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the George P. Mitchell ’40 Physics Building on the Texas A&M campus.

As in years past, no fees or tickets are required for the free annual event (view promotional poster online), which will feature hands-on demonstrations, keynote talks and a legendary Texas-sized five-barrel depth charge as well as special events and bonuses.

Activities will begin and end with endowed public lectures by two best-selling authors and feature a host of interactive, immersive opportunities in between. Participants are encouraged to pay close attention to the day’s tentative schedule, given that some events are exclusively in-person while others also will be offered via livestream.

Schedule of events:

10 a.m.
Stephen W. Hawking Auditorium
Guggenheim Fellow, popular science writer and best-selling author Richard Panek, will present the James G. Potter Lecture, “The Trouble with Gravity.” Panek will discuss what he’s learned about the role gravity plays in how we think about our place in the universe.

10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Festival participants are encouraged to unleash their inner scientists while taking in a bevy of fun experiments and displays illustrating hands-on science and basic technology-related concepts and principles. All exhibits are manned by Texas A&M faculty, staff and students.

11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m
Second-floor primary lecture hall of the Mitchell Physics Building
Science Circus by physics showman Rhys Thomas, who teaches Newtonian physics through a rare blend of science, comedy and circus arts in a performance often compared to a Pixar movie.

11:30 a.m.,
Stephen W. Hawking Auditorium
NASA astronaut and Texas A&M engineer Bonnie Dunbar will present “Thinking Outside the Sphere: Exploring Space.” Dunbar is a 27-year veteran of NASA, where she served as a flight controller and a mission specialist, flying on five Space Shuttle missions and logging more than 50 days in space.

10:45 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1 p.m. and 1:45 p.m.
Low-Temperature Physics Extravaganza and the traditional grand finale — the larger-than-life five-barrel depth charge featuring 1,000 plastic balls. The five-barrel depth charge is set for 3 p.m. on the south side the Mitchell Physics Building.

3:30 p.m.
Mitchell Physics Building Primary Lecture Hall
University of Washington astronomer and award-winning astrophysicist Emily Levesque will present the Mitchell Lecture, “The Last Stargazers: True Stories and Adventures in Astronomy.” Levesque will explore some of today’s most exciting astronomical discoveries while offering personal insight into some of the challenges astronomers face.

All events are presented by the Texas A&M Department Physics and Astronomy in partnership with several other campus units, including the Departments of Aerospace Engineering, Atmospheric Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics.

Festival sponsors include:
Marsha L. ’69 and Ralph F. Schilling ’68
Nancy and Robert L. Dunham ’63
Innolight Technology USA Inc.,
Col. Hal Schade ’67
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Physics and Astronomy
George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy

For the latest details, including event directions and parking information, visit

Read more from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Media contact: Shana K. Hutchins,

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