Hi Everyone 🙂
I get asked often: “Where did you get all this stuff?” My goal is to share the real magic of science and physics- and to this end I will update here (and in my store) suggestions on where to get some of these toys, kinetic art pieces, and scientific curiosities for yourself.
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👉 Rubin Vase: the physics and psychophysics of vision and perception are on display with this glazed ceramic version of psychologist Edgar Rubin’s famous vase. The vase demonstrates the figure-ground distinction made by the brain- is it a vase, or two faces in profile?
👉 Viscous Flow Mixing Bulbs: art from mixing high viscosity fluids. Each LED bulb from EP Designlab captures a unique pattern based on the physics of laminar flow folding resulting from the mixing of viscous fluids- in this case silicone resins.
👉 Silica Aerogel: a solid with extremely low density. Light as a feather, a bent post-it note can support the weight of this chunk. Used as insulation and for catching the tails of comets (see NASA Stardust mission).
👉 Spin Top Carousel: two spin tops of the same mass hang balanced on the ends of a beam such that their rotational motion is allowed to transfer to the system as a whole. The tops are set to spin as usual, but here small neodymium magnets are embedded in the tops of their stems which allows them to connect and hang from metal pins in the beam. The physics of how the angular momentum of the tops is transferred to the rotation of the system of this new toy is still under study. Made by German artisan Kurt Juergen Weigl.
👉 The Random Walker: second model of two Galton Boards designed and produced by IFA.com- this version is made to demonstrate probability in investment returns of a global stock market portfolio relating to risk capacity. Slow motion reveals the erratic path of each steel ball (second half of video). The red graph shows the distribution of 592 monthly returns (mean =1%, SD=5%) representing data from 50 years of an IFA Index fund- here the random “walk” of 3000 steel balls falling through 12 levels of branching paths always produce a close match, and both distributions tend toward the famous bell curve distribution.
👉 Fidget Spinner Trick
👉 Precession of a Gyroscope: in defiance of gravity this gyroscope hangs from a string attached only at one end. The physics and vector nature of angular momentum!
👉 Fiber Optic Flower Lamp: found this vintage 1980s fiber optic lamp at a local thrift store- and it still works! The fiber bundle is illuminated by a lamp in the base and the color shifting patterns are generated by a rotating color wheel in between the light source and the fiber optic bundle (as seen in the last seconds of the video).
👉 Three Polarizing Sheets: quantum mechanical behavior with light polarization. Two linear polarizing sheets oriented at 90 degrees blocks all light- if a third sheet is placed between, oriented at 45 degrees, an eighth of the original light then gets through! A classic example of the quantum mechanical phenomenon of superposition of states as it pertains to the polarization orientation of photons and probability of transmission.
👉 Simple Polariscope: polarized light colorfully reveals the internal stresses imposed on polymer material such as this piece of acrylic, a technique used to model stress distribution patterns in engineering.
👉 Polarizing Filter Black Wall Illusion: two sheets of polarizing film (with polarization axes oriented at 90 degrees to each other) create this illusion inside an acrylic tube. Physics magic!
👉 Polage Display: art with polarized light using polarizing sheets and cellulose to create changing forms and colors. Rotation of the filter allows the artist to produce colorful metamorphosis. The colors in polage come from how the molecular structure of plastics can rotate the polarization of any light that passes through- but only light corresponding to yellows and greens gets rotated in plastic, reds and blues not so much. Polage uses different layers of plastic to rotate the light, and then polarizing filters are added to allow only certain frequencies (colors) of light through.
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