watch the commercial again online. Now I'm not a Hall of Fame football player (really?), and I've never made a commercial, but I have had a Coke or two. More importantly, I had a chance this weekend to toss a kid something better than a soda. Her name is Bella, she's 8 years old, and she came to a Family Science Night in Falls Church, VA with a plasma ball in her backpack.
Bella was there because she loves science and she brought her plasma ball with her because she heard someone from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory was going to be there. She came up to me, wide eyed and smiling, and told me she had a plasma ball in her bedroom and had brought it with her. So of course I asked her to show me and she opened her backpack to show me a small plasma ball. I smiled, she told me all about it, how it gets brighter when she touches it, the colors, how it lights up her room at night. But the crowd was pouring in and I had to go staff my table so we said goodbye.
I was there because the organizer of the USA Science and Engineering Festival asked if I would participate in this event, which is one of many that are kicking off the week leading up to the Festival next weekend. I was already down in DC for a meeting of the APS Committee on Education so the timing was perfect.
Later that evening, Bella stopped by the table again and I called her over, knelt down to her level, and asked if she would like one of the large plasma balls I had brought with me. Her eyes lit up, she took it and ran off to find her father. A few minutes later she was back to tell me, "Thank you! I didn't think it was real! Thank you!" Her father smiled, gave me a big thumbs up, took Bella's hand, and they headed home.
That's why I do this.