Silly Nobel laureate – physics is for kids |

Silly Nobel laureate – physics is for kids

Joel Stonington

Some kids know all about quarks and antimatter, love learning about black holes, and their imagination is filled with the complexities and questions of the universe.After going to the kids physics barbecue/lecture series kicking off at 5 p.m. today and running through the summer, kids will be thinking about the big questions. The free barbecue series started last year. It features hot dogs, burgers, chips and all the fixings, as well as a space for kids to experiment with geodesic domes, rockets, homemade robots and other gadgets, all before a short talk by an eminent physicist. “You’re sitting there, eating a burger and thinking, here’s the dean of Yale physics being grilled by kids,” said Kevin Ward, executive director of the Aspen Science Center. Ward said the 10 barbecues last summer netted an attendance of 1,500 people.”On any given summer you have six or seven Nobel laureates wandering around,” said Ward, who started the barbecues when he figured people in the area would want to learn in a nonthreatening way about the topics physicists are discussing. “[The kids are] constantly asking things that the physicists look around at colleagues for help,” Ward said. “They’re not afraid. They get it.”The Aspen Center for Physics invites top physicists from around the country to do individual research and summer workshops that highlight collaboration. In past years, there has been increasing involvement with the physicists and the Aspen community. “It’s all very quirky, fun and educational,” Ward said. “If you don’t want to pay for a baby-sitter, it’s the best free dinner. Once families come once, they realize this is the real thing.”The barbecues are on the lawn of the Aspen Center for Physics, at the corner of Sixth and Gillespie streets. For more information, call 925-2585.Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is

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