Physics you can experience with all senses has already become a tradition at the 5th Physics Institute. In 2010 the exhibition "Spiel der Kräfte" was on view for the first time outside Germany in Barcelona from 1 to 19 March 2010.
The exhibition in Barcelona was a pilot experiment to bring physics closer to second and third year school children and help develop their scientific curiosity. The initiative included 4,439 students from 59 different schools, although a total of 9,514 children from 113 schools had applied to participate in the event.
The aim of the fair was to develop the innate curiosity children have for science through an interactive exhibition to help them freely discover the most interesting, recent and surprising physics experiments. The activity was addressed to seven and eight year olds and each session lasted from 70 to 90 minutes.
Children were able to build bridges following Leonardo da Vinci's sketches, levitated balls and magnetic spinning tops, attracted lightning with their hands, created magical shapes with soap and played with a suitcase that seemed to be alive, and many more activities. All experiments were related to optics, magnetism, electrostatics, superconductivity, and quantum phenomena.
This edition of the fair was the result of an initiative by the UAB Department of Physics, with the participation of the UAB Institute of Educational Studies and financed by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) and the Ministry for Science and Innovation (MICINN).
Anna Sanpera, professor at the Theoretical Institute at the University of Barcelona in Bellaterra (UAB), became aware of the activities here in the context of a research cooperation with the 5th Physics Institute of the University of Stuttgart. She convinced the physics and didactics departments at UAB, the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) and the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN) of the idea of bringing the exhibition to Barcelona: "Our aim is that one or the other pupil who visits the exhibition today will return as a student or scientist in a few years' time. We are happy to draw on the many years of experience of Tilman Pfau's staff (head of the 5th Physics Institute) in the construction of experimental stations and the conception of exhibitions.