Opticum 3 Font: wishing all a wonderful Thanksgiving and sending out my sincere appreciation for all who follow @physicsfun and support science on Instagram. This laser engraved message uses the Opticum 3 font designed by Erken Kagarov, where indirect lighting reveals the symbols hidden in a maze that is created by simply typing using this font.
From Grand Illusions: BUY NOW
Gallus Lamp: the flame slants and rotates in this unique Swiss design. The glass of the lamp channels the convection and three inlets in the brass base direct the inflow of air into a slow swirl. Lovely engineering and physics of thermodynamics.
These traditional lights available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Spinning Chimes Candle Holder in Brass
Scandinavian Chimes*: a simple heat engine- sound and motion from the resulting convection of candle flame. Another in this series of physics with candles- in celebration of the solstice! All parts stamped out of thin metal with assembly required =) *made in China
The astonishing art of Raven Copeland, aka the madglasser: Buy a marble here!
From Etsy: BUY NOW Vortex Marble artwork of Raven Copeland
Magic Vortex Marble: glass art intersects with the physics of optics in another spectacular piece from lampworking master Raven Copeland aka @madglasser -The clear glass face of the marble acts as a convex lens giving the illusion that the spiral goes deeper than the diameter of the marble. A Gibson opal seems suspended in space above the unique vortex- see the @madglasserInstagram stream for more from his Magic Marble series. The vortex depth illusion in these is even stronger in person!
Infinity Star Mirror: parallel partially mirrored panes create the illusion of depth through the physics of reflection and refraction. Found this physics toy in the holiday decoration section at my local Target store- ? sold as a tree topper ?
Made by HogWild Toys
From Amazon: BUY NOW Skydiving Pencil Topper (Sold out everywhere as of 12/20/2017 it seems)
Magnetic Suspension Pencil Topper: super silly physics today- skydiving cow, dog, and pig on the top of your pencil. A magnet on the top of the plastic arc attracts a magnet inside each skydiver, keeping them in suspended equilibrium against gravity, free to spin at the top of a nylon tether. Love the goggles on these critters.
Kainen and Kaufmann now offer four books in this series- all amazing!
From Amazon: BUY NOW Photicular Animation Books
Photicular 3D Animation Book: the foremost in lenticular image technology produces these looping motion images that look like videos on a computer screen. This amazing book of 8 astonishing moving images is the creation of photographer/artist/inventor Dan Kainen where the moving images use Kainen's patented process where a specially processed image slides under a thin film of lenticular lenses. Writer Carol Kaufmann puts each image into context incorporating fun science facts appropriate for kids yet informative to all.
This ornament comes complete with an LED to light the images and a Vince Guaraldi Trio soundtrack!
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Snoopy Skates Praxinoscope Ornament
Praxinoscope: this Hallmark brand tree ornament brings Snoopy to life using a century old animation technology. The praxinoscope and its predecessor, the zoetrope, both demonstrate the physics and psychophysics behind motion animation- still images flashed in rapid succession produce the illusion of motion through persistence of vision. The ring of 8 mirrors is crucial to creating the illusion allowing visual stimulus of each image for a short duration like a flip book- without these pauses only a blur is perceived. When the image flash rate is above the flicker fusion frequency (approximately 16Hz) we perceive fluid motion- the basis for all movies and TV.
Vintage fiber optic lamps like this one are available on eBay most of the time:
From eBay: BUY NOW Vintage Fiber Optic Flower
Fiber Optic Cactus Lamp: this vintage 1980s fiber optic lamp was found 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 placed between the light source and the fiber optic bundle. Fun physics at a thrift store price.
Infinity Bubble Lights: a classic since the 1940’s- colored methylene chloride encased in glass vials boils from the heat of a low wattage incandescent bulb. Also known as dichloromethane, this liquid has a boiling point at 39.6 °C (103 °F), few degrees above human body temperature. ??Wishing all my followers a joyous and warm holiday!
From J. L. Lawson & Co. BUY NOW Event Horizon Spin Coin
Event Horizon Spin Coin: a flat spinning top with a black hole theme will spin up to 10 minutes on a sufficiently smooth surface due to a ceramic ball contact point and a high moment of inertia from the dense metal in the form of a disk. The pattern on the top of this spin coin evokes the warping of spacetime around a spinning black hole and produces interesting flow motion in the video due to aliasing with respect to the camera frame rate. A collaboration of @jllawsonandco and @shirepostmint
Amazing creations made here:
From Etsy store EngravedGrain: BUY NOW High Voltage Fractal
High Voltage Fractal in Wood: a Lichtenberg fractal created by a high voltage electrical current flow across a piece of wood. Since wood is an insulator a light coating of conducting water (for instance a solution of baking soda or salt) is first applied to the surface. Metal electrodes are then attached at each end of the wood piece and a dangerous source of high voltage is applied (such as a microwave oven transformer or neon light transformer).
Order a holoscope from the artist's gallery here:
The artwork of Gary Allison: BUY NOW Holoscopeworld.com
The Holoscope: a cube of mirrors. A type of kaleidoscope based on truncated Platonic solids by artist Gary Allison. This holoscope is in the form of a cube with each corner cut off allowing light to enter through triangular holes. Through the symmetry of the reflections, these triangles appear as an infinite array of stellated octahedrons. Each holoscope has stained glass on the exterior and front surface mirrors on the inside which create the amazing and seemingly impossible spaces within.
These vintage displays are currently available on eBay: surfer, skier, or fisherman
From eBay: BUY NOW
Polarizer Test Display
Polaroid Glare Reduction: this retail display illustrates the amazing property of light waves and Polaroid sunglasses. In this Oakley display a white surface is aligned by design so that the light from the white surface is reflected off an image of a surfer such that the glare is so extreme the photo is obscured- however all the glare light can be almost entirely eliminated with a polarizing filter oriented correctly. Light waves that are reflected leave the surface with a high percentage of the waves polarized parallel to the surface- if one wears sunglasses that have vertically oriented polarizing filters any reflected light off horizontal surfaces is mostly blocked. At a particular angle for a given surface material (called Brewster's angle) the reflected waves are 100% polarized.
From Mabro Toys BUY NOW Tree Marble Run
Tree Marble Run: conifer tree shaped kinetic marble toy cleverly constructed from a single piece of bent rod. Gravity translates to kinetic energy of rotation which carries the marble to the extremity of each branch before it reverses to descend to the next level. An aesthetically simple device that is more challenging to construct than one might think. From Mabro Toys.
Similar vintage items can often be found on eBay (a bit pricey though):
From eBay: BUY NOW Radiometer in Acrylic
Regular radiometers are available from these sources:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Radiometer
A wide variety available here, including some nice blown glass displays:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Radiometers
Hundreds of options on eBay:
From eBay: BUY NOW Radiometers
Radiometer in Arylic: kinetic energy from light in this Eames era vintage Lucite block sculpture with encased radiometer. Light heats up the "vanes" which then heat up the very thin gas left in the bulb- the black side of the vane is hotter than the colored side and any gas molecule that comes into contact with it flies off at a faster speed imparting impulse to the rotor.
From eBay: BUY NOW
nickel iron meteorite slice
This kind of display stand also available in many sizes:
From eBay: BUY NOW Caliper Display Stand
Widmanstatten Pattern: this slice of Gibeon Meteorite has been etched with mild acid to show these nickel-iron crystalline structures that are only found in meteorites. Widmanstatten patterns from nickel-iron can not be produced in the lab or in any factory- the structure only forms if the metal cools at a rate of 100 degrees per million years!