National Lab Day - Open House

National Lab Day - Open House
April 19, 2010

It has long been a convention to call out special days with their names, one’s birthday, Halloween, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day and so on. Recently, we have seen the term National Lab Day appear in exchanges on the internet.

What is National Lab Day?

It's a nationwide initiative to build local communities of support that will foster ongoing collaborations among volunteers, students and educators. It is the work of a New York-based educational organization that seeks to improve science and math education nationally.

The National Labs are participating in this initiative, which has been promoted by President Obama. National Lab Day has activities across the country scheduled for the entire month of May, with May 12 as the day for most school-based programs.

The mapping of our own education program here at Jefferson Lab onto the stated agenda is evident. Below, from Jan Tyler is a "typical week":

Monday, May 3
Cryogenics Presentation at Ghent School, Norfolk (60 students)

Tuesday, May 4
Physics Fest at 10 a.m. (240 students)

  • Meadowbrook School of International Studies
  • Gildersleeve Middle School

Two 6th grade classes from Huntington Middle School on site for 4 hours

Wednesday, May 5
Staff will spend the day at Huntington Middle School

  • Electromagnet experiments with 8th graders (60 students)

Physics Fest at 10 a.m (220 students)

  • DJ Montague Elementary School, Isle of Wight Academy
  • St. Andrew's Episcopal School

43 JSAT Teachers will be on site from 5-7 p.m.

Thursday, May 6
Two 5th grade classes (55) from Kiln Creek Elementary School on site for 4.5 hours

Friday, May 7
Two 5th grade classes (55) from Kiln Creek Elementary School on site for 4.5 hours
Cryogenics Presentation, Echo Lake Elementary School, Richmond (180 students)

We are uploading our activities onto the website:

We also have our Open House scheduled: .

At the present time, we have lots of construction projects going on around the site associated with the 12 GeV Upgrade Project, with the Technology Engineering Design Facility and others; old-timers recall that this level of activity was only matched during the original construction of the lab. So, why invite people when we are so busy and the lab so messy? The answer is that we are funded by people of the United States, with some help from other countries, to conduct an adventure in science. It behooves us to share that excitement. It’s big science, and that means big construction. If you look at the changes of scale between the smallest detectors we use and the overall size of the experimental halls, you go from 10 microns to 10 meters, a factor of a million change! Imagine!

Following the Karl Herzfeld Memorial Lecture a few weeks ago, which it was my honor to give at Catholic University of America, one of the audience collected his son and grandson, reserved a hotel room and will be at Jefferson Lab for our Open House. Appropriately for May Day, he and many others will see a working lab of which we are extremely proud.