Monday, June 02, 2008

Scientist's Playground

Hey, I uploaded a video! The memory card of my digicam is full, so I downloaded what's collected on it upon which I found some movie clips I took during my recent visit in Germany. Stefan and I, we more or less stumbled across an interactive exhibition called Science on Tour, which I guess was designed with the purpose to convince children to study physics (and/or to make their parents regret they didn't).

Unfortunately, on their websites the English translations are missing, so apologies. Here are the experiments that I recognized

Especially nice were the equal time curves, but they are not on the video.


stefan said...

Dear Bee,

thanks for the wonderful movie! Lots of very cool experiments! And the sound at the end, when the coin falls into the black hole, that was the real sound, wasn't it? Very fitting :-)

I just thought about this exhibition over the weekend. I mean, to do set it up in the middle of a big shopping mall, that's quite cool. And although the adults who took care seemed to be mostly physicists, the kids had lots of fun. Something like this exhibition can probably be very helpful to make physics classes more attractive. Where else can you try so many so nice experiments?

Cheers, Stefan.

Andrew Thomas said...

I really enjoyed the video. The music fitted it really well.Please do more!

Bee said...

Dear Stefan,

Hey, I didn't know they have a website. Well, could have guessed so. Yes, the sound of the coin is real. In fact, the audio recording of that digital camera is amazing.



Bee said...

Hi Andrew:

Glad you like it :-) Will see what I can do. If I could figure out how to export and upload videos without the outcome being mostly grizzle that would make this process less frustrating. If anybody has something helpful to say, let me know. (The original version of this clip has 125 MB, so just embedding it isn't an option.)



Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Great video! Now why didn’t they have such places when I was a kid? My favourite display was the one you refer to as the Gravity Funnel. I’ll tell you one thing it would have made things a little less surprising when as a child I discovered that the further a planet was from the sun the slower its orbital speed. This at first seemed counterintuitive as I imagined for it to be further away that the planet would need a higher velocity. It did however prompt me to find out how it was so as it relates to angular momentum and its related conservation. This little setup doesn’t explain it yet it certainly demonstrates it pretty graphically. Oh to be a kid again.



P.S. One last observation and comment is that you might give Stefan a complex if you continue to cut of his head in all the shots of him; or perhaps is this your way of cutting him down to size:-)

Anonymous said...

Almost all of those exhibits can be seen at the LIGO Science Education Center,

nige said...

Very entertaining demonstrations! This is the kind of thing needed to make physics more interesting to kids generally.

I like the way the coin orbits the funnel faster (more orbits per second) as the funnel becomes narrower. This looks quite complicated to analyze, because the coin is gaining gravitational energy and converting that energy into motion, as well as having a changing slope to contend with. Presumably this is governed entirely by conservation of energy. Usually funny things that happen due to spin are down to conservation of angular momentum, not energy, such as when spinning ice skaters make themselves speed up by drawing in their limbs closer to the axis of their spin.

The Cartesian diver bottle is also excellent, and I've never seen it demonstrated before

Michelle Montianto said...

the video is amazing! great!

stefan said...

Hi Phil,

if you continue to cut of his head in all the shots of him

never mind, I did not even notice that :-).

But now that you mention the rules of orbital motion, I remember that as a kid, I also thought that the planet should be faster if further away from the Sun - I guess it could be more natural to assume constant angular velocity than anything else. It took some time until I had understood the equal-area rule..

Hi Nige,

The Cartesian diver bottle is also excellent, and I've never seen it demonstrated before

That's true! It's a huge diver bottle, and the effect was quite delicate!

But I was also amazed by the high regularity with which this oscillating writing table kept its quite irregular oscillation pattern - that's the experiment in the still, which writes Lissajous patterns on a piece of paper. That's really amazing, especially since the pattern for a single oscillation can look quite erratic.

Best, Stefan