Get this puzzle here:
BUY NOW: Trisected Cube Puzzle
This puzzle came in my Curiosity Box subscrition. A great way to start collecting your own physics toys (and other brain food):
From the Vsauce team: BUY NOW: The Curiosity Box
Trisected Cube Puzzle: three identical pieces interlock to form a cube in this ingenious dissection puzzle. The cube is sliced following a helical path along a corner to corner diagonal, creating a smooth disassembly, and a smooth but surprisingly challenging initial reassembly. Invented by Robert Reid and designed by puzzle master Oskar van Deventer.
Get a set here:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Newton's Yoyo
Newton Yo Yo: Newton's 3rd Law states that action force equals opposite reaction force- the the green and yellow spheres have equal mass, so the forces of the collision provide accelerations that are equal and opposite such that the spheres trade places.
Here are some available kinetic illusions that operate on the same principle:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Spiral Spinner Illusion
From eBay: BUY NOW Spiral Spinner Illusion
Dual Spiral Kinetic Art: hanging by fishing line, thick gauge steel wire is shaped into connected helixes- a pair twisting clockwise and a single coiled counterclockwise. When spinning the rotational motion creates translational motion both upwards and downwards along the vertical direction, and also the striking illusion that the quartz sphere is climbing or descending.
Sometimes available on eBay, and similar mirror illusion banks:
From eBay: BUY NOW: Mirror Illusion Bank
Mirror Illusion Bank: Symmetry + Reflection = Illusion. Deposit a coin (which seems to vanish) and send Mickey flying. The coin hits a lever that send the wings of the goose temporarily into motion adding to the illusion.
Available from Pyrigan & Co.
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Lissajous Roller Illusion
Lissajous Roller: when viewing this 3D printed object from the side one sees a projection of a 3:2 Lissajous curve, but the object is actually cylindrical in frame and can roll towards or away from the viewer. When in motion a “dual axis illusion” is produced where the object appears to be rotating about a vertical axis. Invented by Bill Gosper and produced by Pyrigan & Co.
precision aligned high quality front surface mirrors:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Precision Teleidoscopes
Fine art kaleidoscopes avaibable here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Fine Art Kaleidoscopes
Wine-Themed Kaleidoscope: precision construction using surface coated mirrors set at an angle of exactly 72 degrees creates the beautiful symmetry of a five point mandala in this artisan kaleidoscope. The viewing cell is filled with shiny and colorful wine themed trinkets- grapes, vines, and other items found in and around a winery. Swipe to see more of the intricacies of the patterns produced by turning the viewing cell. Invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), the kaleidoscope is an ultimate physics toy and entire field of artistic endeavor.
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.
Click these links for ooze tube sources (green works best).
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Get an inexpensive 405nm laser pointer here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
(405 nm) Laser pointer
Fluorescent Ooze Tube with Laser: stunning visual effects from a 405 nm laser pointer interacting with the viscous polyisobutene fluid in this ooze tube timer toy. The fluorescent dye converts this particular laser light frequncy to green light as the fluid stretches into thin ropes that act as light pipes while bubbles reflect and fan the beam. Perhaps the next generation Lava Lamp?
This and other beautiful and well made puzzles are available on Etsy:
From Etsy: BUY NOW 10 Hex Puzzle
Two great resources about these polyhexs: polyform puzzler page and puzzleworld page
10 Hex Puzzle: this puzzle is comprised of pieces which are the set of all ways three and four hexagons can be joined with a common edge. There are 3 trihexs and 7 possible tetrahexs, and similar to pentominoes, these 10 polyhexs can assemble into a large hexagon. Amazingly there are exactly 12,290 solutions to this puzzle- but it’s still a challenge to find just one!
Many types and themes available:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Christmas Pyramids
From eBay: BUY NOW Christmas Pyramid
Holiday Pyramid: a simple heat engine- rotational motion resulting from the convection of hot air due to the candle flames of two tea lights. These holiday decorations come from a German Christmas tradition, Weihnachtspyramide, that dates back more than 200 years! Energy transfer: chemical bonds to heat to kinetic energy of the rising air to rotational kinetic energy of the turbine and reindeer.
Get these designs and many more here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Holiday Specs Holographic Glasses (full set)
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Holiday Specs Holographic Glasses
Get the tree and lights here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Tree Decoration, Set of LED lights
Holiday Specs: every point-source of light gets a holographic image overlaid: stars, snowmen, trees, candy canes, and snowflakes. The "lenses" in these glasses are actually transmission holograms but with the image located at the farthest point in the depth of field. Made by American Paper Optics with many more images available.
Only made by the Flyte team:
From Amazon: Buda Ball
See also: The Story Clock
Buda Ball: a spherical magnet is pinned 1.5 centimeters from the surface of its hardwood base. Within the base is an innovative control system with adjustable electromagnet coils in a feedback loop with Hall effect sensors which allow for fine tuning of a magnetic field to precisely balance the pull of gravity- even when the base is in a vertical orientation! Amazing magnetic levitation physics demonstrated with aesthetic design (and very clever engineering) by the flyte.se team- the only (non-superconducting) system I know of that can suspend in a horizontal direction as shown in this video.
The Swinging Sticks Desktop Toy version from their website:
From GeelongShop.com: BUY NOW The Swinging Sticks
The Swinging Sticks: a driven coupled chaotic physical pendulum as kinetic art where the placement of the rods' axes of rotation are engineered to exhibit the widest range of interesting motion. Four AA batteries and a simple electromagnetic kicker circuit in the base gives a tiny push to a magnet in the end of the large rod, keeping the system in motion for over a year! Perhaps one of the most famous physics toys out there as it was featured in the movie Iron Man II (sitting on the desk of Pepper Potts).
Many animations to choose from:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Cinspinner Animation
CineSpinner: motion animation from Moiré pattern effects of constructive and deconstructive interference. Affordable kinetic art by Scanimation creator, artist, and author Rufus Butler Seder.
Get a globe and glow wand here:
From Aurora Plasma Designs: BUY NOW: Globes and Glow Wands
Click here for other amazing: Glow Discharge Designs
Tricolor Plasma Globe and Glow Wand: an engineered mix of low pressure noble gasses exhibit three colors of glow discharge in the plasma filaments that rise upward due to heating. A separate glass wand has a different gas mixture and phosphor coated beads that glow when in contact with the globe. A small high frequency coil at center creates the high voltage potential between the center electrode and the metal coated glass globe. Current flow through the thin gas produces the colorful emission spectra from the gasses.
Quality lightning figures are available here:
From eBay: BUY NOW
Lightning Lichtenberg Sculpture
Frozen Lightning Lamp: a Lichtenberg fractal created by electron discharge from a charged acrylic insulator. A piece of nonconducting acrylic is filled with electrons using a linear accelerator and then discharged to ground with a flash and bang- the figure is the permanent result. Electrons typically will not flow through an insulator, but a high velocity beam of them from a linear accelerator allows the electrons to tunnel deep into the plastic and build up a very large charge slowly. Such a large charge can then create a high enough voltage to create a breakdown arc which is hot enough to leave the fractal pattern. This piece is part of the Captured Lightning Sculptures series by Stoneridge Engineering LLC.
Available as a light bulb with screw in base, or as a USB Lamp
From eBay: BUY NOW Infinity Mirror Bulb
From Amazon: BUY NOW Infinity Mirror Lamps
Get the minimal tabletop base here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Minimal Lamp Base
Infinity Mirror Light Bulb: illusion of depth from multiple refections. This glass bulb is partially coated inside and out with a thin metal layer. The metal layer is made thinner in a pattern of small circles to produce iridescent colors through thin-film interference effects. When lit from within by white LEDs, multiple reflections on the curved contour create the firework like spray of light and color. So much physics going on in this inexpensive novelty bulb!
This manipulable kinetic art available here:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW The Helicone
The Helicone: an interactive kinetic sculpture designed by @john.edmark and distributed by playableArt. With a bit of practice I finally mastered the transformation in both directions: A snap of the wrist imparts angular momentum to the laser cut wood petals which then rotate until an internal mechanism stops their motion with predetermined spacing- a helix transforms to an abstract pine cone. A second snap of the wrist in the opposite direction returns the helix.