All physicsfun toys

Physics Toy Website

for @physicsfun Instagram followers
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. Purchasing items from the links on these pages will help support my IG page of science and wonder. 
 
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Optical Trick Portraits

If you are ever in Florence be sure to visit the Galileo Museum and see the original- as well as a collection of Galileo's telescopes and experiments. 
Visit: Museo Galileo 

Optical Trick Portraits: Hold a flat mirror up to this painting of Charles III, Duke of Lorraine, to reveal his daughter Christina in this 1593 work by Ludovico Buti. A very early example of lenticular images, Gioco Ottico hangs in the Galileo Museum in Florence as part of the Medici Collections. I got this toy version from the museum gift shop a couple months ago. 

Eames Era Kinetic Art

These vintage atomic art pieces are almost always available on eBay and Etsy: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Atomic Kinetic Art 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Kinetic Atomic Art 

Eames Era Kinetic Art: a spray of harmonic oscillators (masses on spring steel wire) produce hypnotic motion in this vintage art piece from the early 1970s. Kinetic sprays like this are mostly from designer Laurids Lonborg of Denmark and can also serve as earthquake detectors. Not recommended for households with cats!


Magnetic Fluid Patterns

Visit the Exploratorium 

Get your own ferrofluid display- Click on this link!

Magnetic Fluid Patterns @exploratorium: a dark ferromagnetic fluid, trapped in a small gap between two plates of glass, reacts under the influence of a powerful magnetic field in this exhibit at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The intricate and beautiful fluid patterns result from surface tension between the liquids competing with the ferrofluid attempting to align with the field lines of a strong magnet as it is positioned at different distances underneath. ? With special thanks to the Exploratorium!

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Monochromatic Room

The light source in this exhibit produces a frequency at 589nm 
Wikipedia has a nice description of the physics and applications of Sodium Vapor Lamps 
Visit the Exploratorium 

Monochromatic Room @exploratorium: a photo of colorful San Francisco is illuminated by a very narrow frequency band of light, with a wavelength of 589nm- the characteristic spectrum of sodium vapor lamps at low pressure. Seeing color is both about the source of illumination and how an object interacts with light. Here a white LED flashlight can momentarily “paint” the scene with color. Sodium vapor lights are a type of gas-discharge lamp that uses sodium metal vapor in an excited state with two dominant spectral lines at 589.0 and 589.6nm, producing the bright yellow light in this exhibit. ? Thanks to the @exploratorium


Pendulum Snake

This exhibit include labels for the exact period of each pendulum: 
 
This Exploratorium "snack" describes how to build your own with simple supplies: Pendulum Snake

Visit the Exploratorium 

Small versions you can buy are available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Pendulum Snake

Pendulum Snake- one of my favorite exhibits at @exploratorium: ten swinging spheres, the first has a frequency of 15 swings per 30 seconds, the second has 16 in the same time, the third has 17, up to the tenth with 24 swings per 30 seconds. If released at the same time and height the amazing patterns result as each independent pendulum goes in and out of phase with the rest. Note that for a pendulum the frequency of oscillation depends on the square root of its length. ? With special thanks to the Exploratorium! 

Equilateral Triangular Kaleidoscope

This inexpansive kaleidoscope is available here:

From increadiblescience: BUY NOW: Moire Tube Kaleidoscope

Click here for affordable, precision made scopes with angled mirrors: Kaleidoscope Symmetries Explored

See more kaleidoscopes in my collection: Kaleidoscopes

Equilateral Triangular Kaleidoscope: three mirrors arranged in a 60-60-60 degree triangle creates the appearance of a plane filled with triangles (or equivalently a honeycomb lattice)- perhaps the most common mirror configuration design, this inexpensive kaleidoscope produces an excellent example of the reflection pattern. As a bonus the exterior tube on this scope incorporates a kinetic Moirè pattern. The kaleidoscope was invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), and has become an entire field of artistic endeavor.


Mini Balance Pterosaur

Get similar prehistoric balance beasts here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Balance Pterosaur

Mini Balance Pterosaur: weights in the forward wing tips create a center of mass below this pterosaur's beak- making a system that can rotate and oscillate about a stable equilibrium condition. No magnets used or needed for this physics! Usually this toy is found in the form of a bird (direct dinosaur descendent). Pterosaurs are not dinosaurs, but are the largest animals to ever fly, and powered flight has only evolved four times: bats, birds, pterosaurs, and insects- in reverse order. 


Magnetic Cube

Many colors to choose from: 
From MagneticCube.com: BUY NOW Magnetic Dice Cube 

See also the original indestructibles post: Magnetic Acrylic Rubik's Cube 

Magnetic Cube: a twisty Rubik’s Cube puzzle made from 27 dice and 108 neodymium magnets. This cube includes the scrambled states and solutions of the original 3x3 Rubik’s Cube but is held together only by magnets! The magnets, in this special configuration, lock the dice together with a satisfying click upon rotation. This beautiful cube was produced by Owen Lillywhite of magneticcube.com and is based on a gfixler design posted on instructables.

Magneview Flim

Get some magnetic viewing film here: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Viewing Film 

Magneview Flim: making the invisible visible and revealing the hidden physics of our everyday world. Microscopic cavities in this green film are filled with oil and tiny flakes of Nickel metal- like compass needles, the flakes align with the magnetic fields revealing the complexity of the north and south pole domains of these magnets. Two of the disk magnets have multiple north and south poles and look like gears with teeth- these are rotors from small motors. 


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Slinky Treadmill

Learn more about the physics of the slinky here: Exploratorium Science Snack 
The slinky has been a popular toy since 1945! Read about the history and physics of the slinky, and the naval mechanical engineer that invented it on Wikipedia
Visit the Exploratorium 

Slinky Treadmill by @exploratorium: kinetic motion energy transfers to elastic potential energy and then back to kinetic energy in a cycling process as a slinky spring "walks" down an incline. Put the system on a treadmill, such as this one at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and the walking behavior can be explored for many minutes. Note that after a while the slinky's walking becomes erratic.? With special thanks to the Exploratorium!

Anamorphic Projection Puzzle

This vintage puzzle was made in Germany about 30 years ago by "Dr. F Hein Spiele", and unfortunately there does not seem to be anything like it currently on the market. This is a table top version of anamorphic projection. Here is an example of large scale versions: 
Anamorphic Projections of Felice Varini via Colossal 

See similar art in my collections: anamorphic projections 

Anamorphic Projection Puzzle: multiple layers of images, fragments of letters and colors, assemble into an image of a smiling sun if viewed from a very specific view point. Thanks to Mark Setteducati for sending me this vintage item.