Physics and Astronomy Outreach

Purdue's Physics and Astronomy outreach programs are based on the synergistic combinations of the program goals outlined above, aimed at learning fundamental concepts of science. Highlights are described below; learn more by following the links or menu.

The philosophy of Outreach in Physics and Astronomy at Purdue is to:

  • Create opportunities for Indiana K-12 students to learn about, and develop enthusiasm for, science.
  • Provide high quality professional development for Indiana K-12 teachers.
  • Collaborate with faculty to leverage resources and expertise for K-12 classrooms and science education.

Physics and Astronomy on the Road

Programs that are aimed at engaging the interests of K-12 students, in classroom or informal settings are encompassed under “Physics on the Road.” Physics on the Road includes larger group presentations, like our ever popular Liquid Nitrogen Crypgenic Show, Starring N2, Sidewalk Science, and hands-on classroom investigations.

Saturday Morning Astrophysics

Saturday Morning Astrophysics (SMAP) is a monthly on-campus program for middle and high school students. Our 90-minute sessions introduce a relevant topic to students and then provide an engaging hands-on activity during which students explore related concepts more deeply. Sessions are taught by post docs, graduate researchers, faculty and staff. Check out the far out things we do in SMAP!

Science Express

Science Express is multifunctional high school level program grounded in content-based professional development for teachers, the availability of scores of teacher- and professionally-prepared classroom laboratory experiments for the classroom, and support and mentorship.  Science Express teacher participants have available to them the loan of laboratory technologies and materials for use in their own classrooms. Check out Science Express!

Service Learning

A major asset of the outreach program in Physics and Astronomy at Purdue is our Service Learning program. Service learning is based on the principles that learning is most effective when done in practical application, and enthusiasm for learning can be shared with others. The materials developed by students in our service learning courses – PHYS 295 (Service Learning in Outreach for undergrads) and PHYS 595 (Curriculum Design and Implementation for graduate students) are made available to K-12 students and teachers through our outreach program.

PHYS 595 also provides an opportunity for K-12 teachers who would like to earn graduate credit by designing, piloting and assessing new materials for their own classrooms. Learn more about earning credit through service learning courses here.


Purdue Physics and Astronomy is one of several dozen institutions nationally that boasts a QuarkNet Center. Funded by NSF, QuarkNet is a professional development program for high school STEM teachers aimed at (1) increasing teachers' knowledge in concepts related to cosmic rays, methods of detection and particle physics, (2) providing teachers the materials and apparatus to do cosmic ray studies with students in their own classrooms, and (3) providing high school students opportunities to actually do, and collaborate internationally in, analysis of accelerator research. Check out our QuarkNet page.

Last Updated: May 5, 2016 2:07 PM