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'Ask a Scientist' to share 'Fun with Liquid Nitrogen' in January

December 18, 2012
Dr. J. Erik Hendrickson

EAU CLAIRE — Dr. J. Erik Hendrickson, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, will present "Fun with Liquid Nitrogen" Jan. 16 as part of the "Ask a Scientist" series.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. at the Acoustic Café in downtown Eau Claire.

Experiencing cold outside temperatures is a routine part of winter for residents of Wisconsin. But what happens to everyday items when they are exposed to the extreme cold of liquid nitrogen, when the temperature is an extremely cold -321 degrees Fahrenheit?

"When everyday ordinary objects are cooled down to this extremely cold temperature using liquid nitrogen, the objects exhibit interesting properties; they shrink and become brittle," Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson is passionate about science and enjoys sharing his demonstrations with schoolchildren, college students and the general public.

"I am trying to get people interested and excited about science. I think most people who see my shows leave thinking more positively about science and are also more willing to explore science phenomena on their own," Hendrickson said.

The program will consist of a 30-minute presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session facilitated by Hendrickson.

The remaining "Ask a Scientist" presentations for the spring 2013 semester are:

  • Feb. 20 — Dr. Matt Jewell, assistant professor, UW-Eau Claire Materials Science Center, "The UW-Eau Claire Materials Science Center."
  • March 20 — Justin Vasel, 2011 UW-Eau Claire physics graduate and current physics graduate assistant, University of Minnesota Duluth, "Stealthy Neutrinos and the Search for Exploding Stars."
  • April 17 — Dr. Jonathan Gardner, chief, Observational Cosmology Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center, "A Scientific Revolution: The Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes."

For more information about the series, contact Dr. Paul Thomas, professor of physics and astronomy, at



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