Using funding from the State of Illinois, particle physics faculty Dave Hedin and Jerry Blazey initiated a physics outreach program in 2001 which was dubbed the Frontier Physics Program to reflect NIU ties to Fermilab and Argonne. Activities included school visits, summer science camps, and the Haunted Physics Lab, with this evolving into NIU's STEM Outreach program in 2008.

Haunted Physics Laboratory and STEMfest

The Department of Physics holds an annual Haunted Physics Laboratory (HPL)as part of the NIU STEMfest. This tradition began in 2003, and was originally located at Faraday Hall on the DeKalb campus of Northern Illinois University. Due to its overwhelming popularity, HPL was expanded in 2010 to include other STEM disciplines and became the backbone of STEMfest, which is located at NIU's Convocation Center.  The HPL and related LaserFest displays are still some of the most popular parts of STEMfest which is still held in late October each year. Check the STEMfest website for this year's date and parking information.  The event remains a free, family event.

Hands on Physics at your school

NIU STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Outreach can bring 25-100 of the interactive physics displays that were developed for the Haunted Physics Labs to your school for a day-long or evening event.  Billed as Physics Phun Labs, except near Halloween when they are still recognized as Haunted Physics Labs, these investigations are sure to intrigue students from kindergarten through high school. 

NIU's popular and dynamic physics demonstration programs for students in kindergarten through high school can be customized for each audience by choosing themes and concepts that reflect the materials currently being covered in class. Demonstrations using liquid nitrogen, plasma globes, strong magnets, lasers and diffraction-lensed rainbow glasses among many other intriguing demos excite students as they bring physics concepts to life.

To arrange to bring either the Hands-on Physics or Frontier Physics programs to your school or community

contact Jeremy Benson, STEM Outreach Associate

(815) 753-0533 jjbenson@niu.edu

Bringing your students to campus or bringing NIU Physics faculty or students to your classroom

STEM Outreach can assist with arrangements for campus visits in any of the STEM fields and in arranging for faculty or students to visit your classroom.

Professional Development

Whether you are looking for ways to engage your students or increase your content knowledge, STEM Outreach can help  you connect with professional development resources at NIU.

To connect with NIU faculty in Physics or other STEM fields for visits or professional development,

contact Pati Sievert, STEM Outreach Director

(815) 753-1201  psievert@niu.edu

Check out the STEM OUTREACH web page for an extensive list of on and off campus activities.


NIU's Davis Hall Observatory is open to the public for telescope viewing on Thursdays and Fridays when NIU  is in session, and at other times by appointment. Click here for more information.

Fermilab Tours

The general public can visit Fermilab and see many sites at the lab on its own. But of special interest is a tour of the D0 experiment and the Fermilab Tevatron Collider. This tour has to be arranged in advance. The tour guides are members of the D0 collaboratiopn including some from NIU.


The Physics Department also sponsors a number of programs with high school teachers and students including the Quarknet week during the summer.