Crowd Pleasing Physics Instructor | God's World News

Crowd Pleasing Physics Instructor

  • 1 Dr Tatiana Fo1 D Wo5 B t
    Dr. Tatiana Erukhimova does a physics trick with liquid nitrogen. (Texas A&M College of Science)
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    Erukhimova shows how hitting a knife with a potato on the end makes the potato slide up the knife. This demonstrates inertia. (Texas A&M College of Science)
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    Erukhimova watches a student ride a bike with square wheels over a humped path. The arc length of the curves must be equal to the square sides to create a smooth ride. (Texas A&M College of Science)
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    Erukhimova uses a hair dryer to blow a ball into a cup. (Texas A&M College of Science)
  • 5 Dr Tatiana b4 YCH0 Y2 t
    Erukhimova works with students. (Texas A&M College of Science)
  • 1 Dr Tatiana Fo1 D Wo5 B t
  • 2 Dr Tatiana Kvg0 HEO8 t
  • 3 Dr Tatiana E Bb Lr0 ND t
  • 4 Dr Tatiana h Cpt XU Le t
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“We did it!” yells someone up front. “Wheeeeee!” shriek delighted onlookers. This isn’t a sporting event or concert. It’s a science lesson. And the ringleader is a teacher out to make physics fun—and break a few eggs in the process.

Tatiana Erukhimova (EAR-uh-HEE-mo-vuh) earned her doctorate in physics from the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1999. Two years later, she received an invitation to teach at Texas A&M (TAMU). She arrived, became an American citizen, and never left.

The slight, spirited professor known as “Dr. Tatiana” teaches mechanics, physics, and magnetism at TAMU. Her teaching philosophy is simple: “I need to connect. I need to inspire. I need to engage them.”

And she does. “From the moment you meet Dr. Tatiana, you know she cares about you,” says one former student. “You know she wants you to learn and that she wants what’s best for you.”

From all appearances, Erukhimova is a great teacher. But it’s her experiments on YouTube that have the internet buzzing. A potato, knife, and a mallet show inertia; an upside down bottle demonstrates atmospheric pressure; a cork and a fork illustrate center of gravity.

“Everyone has to get the chance to learn science and enjoy it,” she says.

Lessons showcase Erukhimova’s larger-than-life personality. “Brighten your morning with a physics experiment!” she chirps in a thick Russian accent. Then she unfurls an entire roll of toilet paper with a blow dryer.

“Enjoy!” Erukhimova shouts as TP billows into the audience.

Sure, she’s demonstrating a basic air flow principle. But she’s also helping observers think differently about science. As one former student says, “I can’t help but see physics everywhere I go now.”

It’s no wonder TAMU’s physics YouTube channel has 2.5 million subscribers—nearly two million more than the school’s athletics channel!

“Yeah, isn’t that crazy?” Erukhimova giggles.

When she’s not standing on lightbulbs or shrinking balloon animals in liquid nitrogen, Erukhimova organizes TAMU’s annual Physics and Engineering Festival. Thousands of people attend to watch experiments and meet scientists, mainly Erukhimova.

“It’s not magic—it’s physics!” she’ll tell them often.

Erukhimova is also the main attraction at TAMU’s frequent Physics Shows. A crowd favorite is the outdoor depth charge. It involves a 55-gallon drum, ping pong balls, water, liquid nitrogen, and a big ka-BOOM! The water and balls blast into the air.

Many of Erukhimova’s experiments feature eggs. Thwacking plates from under eggs demonstrates inertia. Piling weights on them illustrates load distribution. Most eggs survive. But sometimes, they squish. That’s a lesson too. Erukhimova laughs, “You cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs.”

by Kim Stegall in Greenville, South Carolina

Why? Connect. Inspire. Engage. People often learn best when they’re having fun doing it.

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