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Lecture Demonstration Facility

University of Utah Department of Physics and Astronomy James Fletcher Building, room B8 (JFB B8).

Adam Beehler - Lecture Demonstration Specialist 801-581-6602



The Lecture Demonstration Facility exists to aid in the teaching of physics and astronomy to undergraduate and graduate students in the field of physics and astronomy, as well as non-majors taking physics and astronomy here on campus.

PIRA or Physics Instructional Resource Association

The Physics Instructional Resource Association exists to serve the needs of Physics Instructional Support Professionals through sharing ideas about demonstrations, laboratory activities, learning centers, and instructional resources in general. The PIRA organization has been in effect since 1985 and was created to aid Physics Teachers with demonstration and laboratory information. We encourage all teachers of all levels to join our organization and use the resources available. These resources include, but are not limited to...

  • Demonstration Classification Scheme (DCS)
  • the top 200 demonstrations we recommend (PIRA 200)
  • searchable database of multiple physics lecture demonstration websites at once
  • email listserv (TAP-L)

PIRA (see below) has developed a Demonstration Classification Scheme (DCS), which allows members to organize and acquire reference material for physics demonstrations. Each demonstration is assigned a specific number and is placed into the area where they are most used. These areas include Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Oscillations and Waves, Thermodynamics, Electricity and Magnetism, Optics, Modern Physics, Astronomy, and Equipment. The structure of the classification system is shown in this example:

Title howitzer tunnel (different people uses different titles)  
DCS # 1D60.10 (one specific number for everyone) 
 Area 1 = mechanics 
Topic  1D = motion in two dimension 
Concept  1D60 = projectile motion
Demonstration 1D60.10 = this specific demo

The topic and concept divisions of the structure loosely follow standard textbook organization of chapter and section. They were created to organize existing demonstrations, not cover the entirety of elementary physics, and therefore they skip some areas of the curriculum covered by standard textbooks. The standard curriculum has changed over the years and categories have been created to contain the many demonstrations rendered obsolete by modern textbooks.


U.S. Post Office Address:

Adam Beehler
Department of Physics and Astronomy
115 South 1400 East Rm 201
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0830

Statement of Copyright

The material contained herein is copyrighted by the University of Utah, and may not be duplicated or used for any commercial purpose without permission from the University of Utah. For permission to use these materials contact Adam Beehler (see above).


The demonstrations contained and referenced herein are listed for the purposes of cataloging and describing physics demonstrations which should be conducted only under the direction of a trained instructional support professional or physicist. The University of Utah is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose. Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here, entails inherent risks. These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage. Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them. All demonstrations described and contained herein are public domain, and can also be found in reference materials in libraries, bookstores, and electronic sources.

Last Updated: 3/2/21