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Popularize and teach physics during the lockdown

The "Physics reimagined" team has been developing new ways of popularizing and teaching physics at LPS. The first lockdown in march 2020 was an opportunity for its members to test new approaches once again. The team’s physicists worked remotely with designers and creatives to offer the general public and to their students several new projects.

To reach the general public, especially middle and high school students, "" were offered on the internet where the speaker, live, alternated physics experiments with smartphones and examples from contemporary research with homemade models. These conferences then led to "at home" labs, designed with high school teachers, and since offered by the National Education.

Conferences during lockdown with homemade tools

On the university teaching side, new types of teachings, "confined labs", were carried out with colleagues in physics license. The students themselves created experiences at home, working in team remotely, accompanied by the teachers in these new formats that encourage inventiveness and DIY. They thus discovered a new face of experiments, more anchored in everyday life but just as scientific.

Lockdowned students’ labs

To popularize physics related to what people were going through, an animated film was produced, again remotely, "The Teleworking’s odyssey". In this cartoon, one explains in a funny and vivid way how a signal produced by the voice can finally be transmitted by zoom almost instantly. To dream a little, a comic book project has been designed, “quantum landscapes”, where famous graphs of quantum physics give birth to landscapes which explain them in a dreamlike world.

Immersive comics to discover quantum physics phenomena

To raise awareness of the challenges of the climate crisis, a series of potato-based animations explains the different forms of energy, then how they are transposed into our daily lives. To create a link among people, a “cadavre exquis” was organized where every day a researcher proposed a scientific figure to a creative who was to produce a figure in turn, which was passed on to the next researcher, and so on. Every daily image was then on social networks. Finally, an illustrator sketched the best and worst moments of this first lockdown we spent teaching and popularizing to keep track of this strange collective moment. All these actions have since led to new openings for the team, both in terms of teaching and popularization, with the exploration of new original formats, for example immersive science games or new ways to give lectures. But above all, this unique moment has taught us that even the worst constraints, ultimately, can be fertile.

Julien Bobroff
Frédéric Bouquet