Recent Posts

Natural Fiber Optic Condiut (TV Rock)

Samples of Satin Spar that will demonstrate this property available here:
From eBay: BUY NOW TV Rock: Satin Spar 

From Etsy: BUY NOW: TV Rock: Satin Spar Rod

Get samples of Ulexite here 
From eBay: BUY NOW TV Rock: Ulexite

Natural Fiber Optic Conduit: a special crystalline form of the mineral gypsum acts as a natural fiber optic image conduit. I found this rectangular cut and polished sample in a new age crystal shop in Sedona AZ. Morocco seems to be the main source of this fibrous form, called satin spar gypsum, which exhibits pearl like luster and chatoyancy along two axes and transparency along the direction of the fibers. Each natural crystal microfiber extends the length of the rod and acts like a man made glass fiber where the index of refraction is just right to allow internal reflection to propagate light from one end to the other.

Emission Spectra Gases on Radial Mount

I made the display holder and I got this set of gas tubes here (about $9 per tube): 
From eBay: BUY NOW: Gas Pure Element Samples

From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Mini Tesla Coil
For the price, this is the best one on the market- and beautiful to look at in copper- and it comes with three accessories for the top. Please be sure to employ all appropriate safety precautions when utilizing any electrical circuity!

The mount is made by driling holes in this acrylic tube: 4" Acrylic Tube

The breakdown voltages of the elements featured in this post are described by Paschen's Law: 
 
Here is a excellent article with an overview of the physics of glow discharge and its application in lighting and other technologies. 

Click this link to see the mini Tesla coil in action

Emission Spectra Gas Samples: pure samples of hydrogen, nitrogen and five noble gasses are subjected to the high frequency pulsed field of a miniature Tesla coil. Each gas has a characteristic breakdown voltage and emission spectrum- note that Nitrogen has the highest breakdown voltage and begins to glow after the presence of my hand temporarily lowers the resistance to current flow for that tube. The color of each gas is due to a mix of the colors emitted from electron energy transitions specific to each element- the basis of spectroscopy. Notice also that the purple color of the brush discharge at the top of the Tesla coil matches closely to the color of the nitrogen sample, which makes sense as air is 78% nitrogen. 

Holoscopes

Order a holoscope from the artist's gallery here: 
The artwork of Gary Allison: BUY NOW Holoscopeworld.com 

6 and 12 Faced Holoscopes: a cube and dodecahedron of mirrors. A type of kaleidoscope based on truncated Platonic solids by artist Gary Allison @holoscope2000. These holoscopes are in the form of two famous Platonic solids- each with all the corners cut off to allow light to enter through triangular holes. Through the symmetry of the reflections, these triangles appear as an infinite array of tetrahedron shapes in the dodecahedron, and as beautiful repeating stellated octahedrons in the cube. Each holoscope has stained glass on the exterior and front surface mirrors on the inside which create the amazing and seemingly impossible spaces within. 


The Galton Board

Available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Galton Board 

The Galton Board: 3000 steel balls fall through 12 levels of branching paths and always end up matching a bell curve distribution. Each ball has a 50/50 chance of following each branch such that the balls are distributed at the bottom by the mathematical binomial distribution. One of my favorite finds of 2018! An elegantly designed modern version of the Galton Box invented by Sir Francis Galton(1894) to demonstrate the Central Limit Theorem - showing how random processes gather around the mean. In addition the number of balls in each bin can be predicted by Pascal's triangle (printed on the face over the pegs).

Pallasite Meteorite

Pallasites are indeed the rarest of meteorites, but they have become more affordable as more finds come in. Get a piece from this reliable seller:

From eBay: BUY NOW: Pallasite Meteorites

Pallasite Meteorite: olivine (peridot) crystals in a jumbled mix of nickel-iron matrix. You are looking at a piece of an ancient planetoid sized asteroid, specifically a chunk from the boundary where the nickel-iron core mixed with the mantle rock (similar to that of Earth’s inner anatomy). Dated to 2 billion+ years ago, when Moon sized objects violently collided in the Astroid Belt. These rare meteorites are small remnants of those ancient collisions, pieces that made their way to Earth.

Indochinite Tektite Collection

A wide variety of tektite samples available here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Tektites 

Wikipedia has good details on tektites as natural glass objects from meteor impacts.

Indochinite Collection: tektites from the Australasian strewnfield found mostly in Australia and Indonesia. Unique non-volcanic natural glass produced by an asteroid impact! Not the meteor itself but blobs of melted earth that went airborne and cooled in flight. Note the variation in shapes resulting from how fast the molten blobs were spinning as they cooled- surface tension pulls the liquid glass into spheres for slow rotation, faster rotation produces dumbbell shapes with two lobes, and the teardrop shapes are from half of very fast spinning blobs that stretched and broke in two.


Magnetic Flux Gyroscope Pendant

Magnetic Flux Pendants and other amazing science inspired jewelry available here:

From Foxtail Jewelry: BUY NOW: Kinetic Magnetic Pendants

Magnetic Flux Gyroscope Pendant: two neodymium magnets on chains remain suspended by their mutual magnetic attraction. This kinetic art necklace design is from a new line of physics inspired jewelry- a collaboration with designer and artist Betsy Yates of @foxtailjewelry who so masterfully brought this concept to life and is currently featuring @physicsfun inspired pendants in her gallery and store. 

3D Print Kaleidocycle 

Get this beautiful 3D Print here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Kaleidocycle Fidget

Or print it yourself: Kaleidocycle print files

3D Print Kaleidocycle: this kinetic manipulation fidget toy is comprised of six hinges such that it can twist inwards continuously. Amazingly this item is 3D “printed-in-place”, which means it comes off the printer already assembled with movable links and ensures the color gradient is continuous across the joints.

 

 

Butterfly Mendocino Motor

Get this elegant motor here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Butterfly Medocino Motor

Butterfly Mendocino Motor: the simplest (and very elegant) version of this motor with only two photovoltaic cells mounted with care to ensure precision balance. This motor will spin quietly to high RPMs on any sunlit windowsill. In this model made by Semyon Nazarov of SolarWindRU, each of the two photovoltaic solar cells is connected to a coil of copper wire under the opposing solar cell. When the rotor is lit from above the top solar cell provides electric current to the coil in the bottom position which becomes a temporary electromagnet that pushes against the permanent magnet in the base propelling the rotor to rotate. As the rotor turns, the coil that moves into the bottom position is likewise energized by the solar cell currently at the top- one can say the light commutates this motor. 2D magnetic levitation is provided by permanent magnets where an acrylic plate constrains the third dimension, and makes for a nice bearing surface for minimal friction. Invented in the 1960s by Daryl Chapin of Bell Labs and popularized by Larry Springs of Mendocino CA


Pentominoes 3 Color Challenge

@physicsfun exclusive design- available only from STEMCell Science:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: 3 Color Pentominoes Puzzle

Pentominoes 3 Color Challenge: fit all 12 pentominoes into a 6x10 rectangle such that no two identically colored pieces touch. Pentominoes are the set of all 12 possible arrangements of five identical squares joined edge to edge. Since 5x12=60, the pentominoes can tile a 6 x 10 rectangle with no gaps (there are 2339 ways to do this- yet even finding one solution is quite difficult). Adding the 3 color challenge reduces the number of possible solutions to just this one shown here! Made from laser cut acrylic and wood- and now available for the first time in a limited production run.

Mini Acoustic Levitator

Get this inexpensive device here:

From EngineDIY: BUY NOW: Mini Acoustic Levitator

Mini Acoustic Levitator: small pieces of styrofoam become trapped between areas of higher pressure induced by high frequency sound waves. Ultrasonic transducers placed at the top and bottom are basically speakers that emit sound waves at a frequency of 43,000 Hz, which corresponds to a wavelength of 8mm for dry air. If the transducers are positioned just right standing waves are produce with nodes of low pressure at half wavelength intervals- and low mass objects like these foam pellets will be suspended against gravity when placed near one of these nodes. Here we see a stack of three pellets with a spacing of about 4mm which is the expected distribution of the nodes. To place the pellets into the sound stream without disrupting the standing waves this device comes with a small screen with a handle which allows the sound waves to flow through the holes in the mesh and trap piece of foam. Although the device uses sound it appears silent as the frequency used is way above that which humans can hear (20Hz to 20kHz).

 

Anamorphic Locomotion Cup & Saucer

Animated Horse set available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Luycho Locomotion Horse Cup & Saucer (sold out at the moment- more on the way)

CAUTION: There are poorly made counterfeit versions on Amazon as well. Only these origial Luycho products produce a clean animation and image.  

Locomotion Anamorphic Cup & Saucer: an amazing combination of barrier grid animation and anamorphic projection rendered on elegant porcelain. The warped image on the saucer is reconstructed by reflection off the surface of the cup, however the gold mirroring is comprised of parallel lines that only reflect part of the image pattern. Turing the cup (or the saucer and cup together) reveals a flying bird or running horse! Another expertly crafted product from Luycho. 


Uranium Metal

Get this Urainum sample here:
From Luciteria: BUY NOW: 1 gram U238 sample in glass

Working vintage Civil Defence Gieger Counters available here:
From eBay: BUY NOW: CDV-700 Geiger Counter

Get this precise reference scale cube here:
From eBay: BUY NOW: 1 cm scale cube

Check out these: complete periodic element collections

Uranium Metal: at Z=92 protons, uranium is the largest naturally occurring atom one can extract from the Earth. This one gram sample of depleted uranium (U238 with majority of U235 removed) is sealed in glass with pure nitrogen to prevent oxidation and keep its metal surface shiny. It is also radioactive and each U238 turns into lead (Pb206) through a complicated decay path, emitting alpha, beta, and gamma rays. Thousands of these energetic particles fly out of this small lump each second even though U238 has a half life of 4.47 billion years. A vintage Civil Defense Geiger counter counts hundreds of ionizing tracks per second at close range (but hardly any a few centimeters away- so not dangerous if handled appropriately).

 

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Heritage Periodic Table: Collector's Edition

The Collector's Edition Periodic Table with 85 element samples: 
From Etsy store ProtoshopLLC : BUY NOW 
Heritage Periodic Table

The Heritage Periodic Table: Collector’s Edition- a comprehensive collection of the chemical elements that can fit in the hand. Embedded in acrylic are actual samples of 85 of the 118 elements- including pure gasses and reactive alkali metals in glass ampules- and represented by 80 high purity samples (including a Gold nugget and liquid Mercury) and 5 compounds. Radium is included in the form of an antique watch hand, and the bead of Mercury rolls back and forth within its glass container. This spectacular table and collection is the creative work of Tim and Cory Marriott of Engineered Labs Protoshop LLC


Pencil Hyperboloid

Choose your color and get one here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW 
Hyperboloid Pencil Holder 


don't forget a set of pencils: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Colored Pencil Sets 


Better yet- get some thermochromic color changing pencils! 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW 
Heat-Sensitive Pencils 

Pencil Hyperboloid: a perfect gift for any math teacher- the precisely oriented holes in this base direct 16 pencils to reveal a hyperboloid, the 3D surface traced by revolving a diagonal(skew) line, the outline of which is the conic section of the hyperbola. A doubly ruled surface for any desktop!

Tail Spin Geared Kinetic Toy

Get one here: 

From eBay: BUY NOW: Tail Spin Kinetic Toy

Tail Spin Geared Kinetic Toy: fourteen gears arranged on seven linked segments meshed in such a way that the configuration can roll up and stack compactly or extend into a line. With a flick of the wrist, one can impart enough angular momentum to the assembly to cycle it through its full range of motion- shown also in 240fps slow motion at the end of the video. Invented by Oskar van Deventer and produced by Think Fun toys. 

 

Ring Catch Chain Trick

Get a set here: 
From eBay:(best selecton) BUY NOW Ring Chain Catch
From Amazon: BUY NOW Ring and Chain Set 

The physics of this trick in great detail with more slow motion: Ring Falling into a Chain: No Magic — Just Physics 

Ring Catch Chain Trick: a solid ring will be caught by a loop of chain if it tumbles during its fall. By Newton's Third law, when the ring twists into and hits the chain, the impact transfers momentum to the end of the chain, which rises up and over the ring- seen here in 480 fps slow motion.