Fun and Science Collide at Hancock's Annual Friday Night Science Event

Friday Night Science takes place May 3 from 6-8:30 p.m.

Friday Night ScienceMAY 2, 2019--Thousands of local children and youth will get the chance to deepen their knowledge of science with hands-on demonstrations and spectacular stage shows during Allan Hancock College’s annual Friday Night Science event.

This year’s Friday Night Science will take place on May 3 from 6-8:30 p.m. in and around bldg. M on Hancock’s Santa Maria campus. The event, which draws more than 1,500 visitors each year, features dozens of interactive experiments, exhibits, and demonstrations created by Hancock students and faculty for children of all ages. Each exhibit is designed to demonstrate a scientific principle with the overall goal of fostering children’s interest in science and STEM.

“Every year I’m amazed at the kinds of questions kids bring up and the novel discoveries they make,” said Hancock physics instructor Rob Jorstad. “Because the kids get to play with the demos instead of just looking at them, the knowledge really sticks with them. They really get engaged and leave excited about science.”

Approximately 100 Hancock students helped design, test and build the experiments and demonstrations. Many of them will be on hand to help run the hands-on exhibits and act as translators for Spanish-speaking guests.

This year’s demonstrations will include fan-favorites from past Friday Night Science events, as well as brand new ones sure to spark excitement from children of all ages. Returning exhibits include a walk-in pinhole camera, a pedal-powered generator, glowing rocks, smoke ring cannons and a mirror maze. New exhibits include the Lissajous Lounge; a themed area where participants can view large-scale demonstrations that visualize resonance, soundwaves and oscillation.

“It’s mindblowing,” said Jorstad. “Think of it as a Spirograph on steroids.”

Hancock’s chemistry faculty will also be at the event, starring in an explosive stage show that utilizes substances such as dry ice, methane, and thermite to demonstrate the different physical states of matter.

“The chemists will be explaining physical states and using chemical demonstrations to change matter from solids to liquids, and to gases,” said Hancock chemistry instructor Dustin Nouri, who is also performing in the stage show. “Gun Cotton and Thermite are the most popular demos being showcased.”

Friday Night Science is sponsored by McDonald’s, and is free and open to all ages. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. For more information about Friday Night Science, visit

 - AHC -

Caption: Allan Hancock College’s annual Friday Night Science event offers dozens of interactive exhibits and experiments.            

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Last Modified May 2, 2019