Get a PhoTOP from these fine vendors (comes with laser pointer!):
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW PhoTOP
From Vat19: BUY NOW: PhoTOP
Another amazing spinning device by Prof. Ken Brecher! Get his other spinning tops here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: PhiTOP, PiTOP, eTOP, iTOP, DeltaCELT
The PhoTOP: phosphorescent glow illuminates the intricate path of a 405nm laser pointer beam on a balanced spinning disk. Let the disk set alone for a few minutes to allow the traces to fade- and repeat again and again to experiment making new patterns.
Magnetic Flux Gyroscope art and other amazing science inspired jewelry available here:
From Foxtail Jewelry: BUY NOW: Kinetic Magnetic Pendants
From Foxtail Jewelry: BUY NOW: Tabletop Magnetic Kinetic Art
Magnetic Flux Gyroscope: kinetic art on a stand (or on a chain)- physics you can wear, rendered in brass or silver by @foxtailjewelry in collaboration with @physicsfun! Two half-sphere neodymium magnets on chains remain suspended under centripetal acceleration - connected by the invisible but tactile force of magnetic fields. Honored to have this concept featured in the gallery of @foxtailjewelry.
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).
This live steam engine is available here:
From EngineDIY: BUY NOW: Hero's Engine
Hero’s Engine: the very first steam engine ever devised, the Aeolipile is a radial steam jet reaction turbine, an a invention attributed to Hero of Alexandria in the year 1 AD. Water within the spherical container is heated to produce steam which exits through nozzles directed at right angles to the radial direction, and by Newton’s third law these jets produce a torque about the rotation axis. There is no historical record of this engine being put to practical use in ancient times- except perhaps as the world’s first physics toy!
Get the soundtrack by John Williams (which comes with two wonderful examples of Tristan Duke's holography artwork) here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW The Force Awakens Soundtrack + Holograms
Click on this link for another amazing work by Mr. Duke...
Star Wars Specular Hologram on Vinyl: A repost of my favorite Star Wars themed physics in celebration of The Last Jedi in theaters today—the two LP soundtrack from The Force Awakens featuring two amazing "scratch holograms" of a Tie fighter and the Millennium Falcon- the video barely captures the fullness of the 3D effect, in person the spaceships seem to hover above the surface of the record. These holograms were hand etched on the metal masters by artist Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science. The etched grooves reflect a point source of light as sharp glints and the groves are arranged so that each eye sees a slightly different pattern such that, via stereopsis, the shiny points appear to float above or below the surface.
Get one here- but like any source of flame- use with caution!
From Amazon: BUY NOW Plasma Arc Lighter
Plasma Arc Lighter Physics: dual arcs of plasma exceed 1100 C (2000 F) on this flameless lighter. The breakdown voltage of air is about 3000 Volts per mm. Thus the circuit in the lighter must provide about 12,000 volts to produce this 4mm arc. The circuit is a simple one made possible by a transformer with very fine wire windings, a transistor, and a powerful lithium-ion battery (USB rechargeable). The circuit produces high frequency current oscillations in the coils that in turn produce the needed high voltage. Like having a Tesla coil in your pocket!
Get one from David Fowler's shop:
From PhysicsHack: BUY NOW: Advanced Gyro
Made with extraordinary craftsmanship and high quality materials, and sold at a very reasonable price!
See also this other device by Mr. Fowler: Vortex Dome
Hybrid Gyroscope Top: the Advanced Gyro is a new design by @physicshack which exhibits a interesting vertical stability phenomenon when placed on this unique stand with three ball bearings that serve to minimize friction and keep the gyro centered. The top defies gravity, due in part to its angular momentum, and its spin axis slowly rises to a stable vertical position from subtle rolling friction interactions with the ball bearings. No pull cord needed, this unique design spins up via friction with a working surface (thin cardboard works well) and applying a circular motion to bring the rotor up to 1000s of RPM. Machined from solid stainless steel this top weighs in at about half a kilo, providing inertia that produces long spin times. Thanks to inventor/designer David Fowler for sending me this fantastic gyro.
Get one from David Fowler's online shop:
From PhysicsHack: BUY NOW: Vortex Dome Kalliroscope
Made with extraordinary craftsmanship and high quality materials, and sold at a very reasonable price!
Vortex Dome Kalliroscope: kinetic art with rheoscopic fluid in a rotating base. Visualizing the invisible- the Vortex Dome is the creation of engineer/inventor and @physicsfun featured artist David Fowler aka @physicshack who creates this modern rotating kalliroscope that generates complex and beautiful structures similar to those seen in the cloud bands of the gas giants of our solar system like Jupiter. The capsule is constructed of high quality glass on a heavy stainless steel base which glides upon an included bearing set for long spin times.
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
Professor Brecher has a limited supply of these "golden" (brass) versions of this top available on Etsy
From Etsy: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Brass
Aluminum version available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW phiTOP
The ΦTop - Golden Version: spinning things have surprising physics! This unique top is made of solid brass in the shape of a prolate elIipsoid- and the name of the top is derived from the following design requirement: the ratio of the semi minor (short) axis to the semi major (long) axis is made equal to the mathematical constant the golden ratio φ (phi). Invented by astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, this top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. The concave mirror keeps the top from wandering off and the glass surface has minimal friction allowing the top to spin for a long time- this video shows various stages of 8 minutes of total spin time.
This is the exact one used in the video- works well!
From Amazon: BUY NOW Double Pendulum Chaotic Fidget
Chaotic Fidget: a double pendulum spinner- chaos in the palm of your hand! This miniature double pendulum is made from stainless steel, which provides high mass so one can feel the unbalanced center of gravity shift about, and bearings in the joints allow for smooth and sustained motion. Slow motion reveals the intricacies of the chaotic motion, characterized by extreme sensitivity to initial starting conditions, tiny differences in how the system is released leads to dramatically different outcomes each time.
Get this inexpensive version that makes big sparks!
from Engine DIY: BUY NOW: Wimshurst Electrostatic Generator
Wimshurst Electrostatic Generator: this device uses two counter rotating disks of metal pads to separate charge via induction. The repulsion felt by electrons as the triangle plates pass by each other pushes charge to flow across two conducting rods, one on each side, which allows the charge to stack up. This excess charge is then stored in old fashioned cylindrical capacitors (Leyden Jars) until the resulting 30,000+ Volts is achieved to jump the air gap. This device goes back to 1883- invented by James Wimshurst
I made the display holder and I got this set of gas tubes here (about $7 per tube):
From eBay: BUY NOW
Gas Pure Element Samples
Here is the miniture tesla coil used in the video:
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Mini Tesla Coil
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.
Gas Collection for Emission Spectra: 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 only glows when very near the coil where the field is most intense whereas Neon and Helium have the lowest breakdown voltage and begin to glow many centimeters away from the coil. 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. The Krypton tube also exhibits interesting oscillations with this particular Tesla coil.
Get one here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Vortex II Coin Bank
Vortex II Coin Bank: interplay of potential energy of gravity and conservation of angular momentum- a simulation of a decaying orbit. Fun with every coin saved!
Get the levitating/rotating platform here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Levitron Revolution
From eBay: BUY NOW Levitron Maglev Platform
Versions of the floating rings illusion can be found at the Exploratorium, at the Carnegie Science Center,
and is also famously featured in the 1981 Superman movie:
Levitron Revolution: well engineered control system uses an adjustable electromagnet and and a Hall effect sensor to levitate an 8cm diameter neodymium magnet platform 5 cm in mid-air. The feedback loop allows fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity. The platform also rotates, perfect for this floating rings illusion sculpture I constructed.
Get this puzzle ball here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Flippe Puzzle Ball
Flippe Ball Puzzle: this ball is a puzzle that explodes and flies apart when spun. The puzzle is made of three identical pieces and a ball bearing which mysteriously locks the pieces together only to release them after a period of spinning. The main challenge is to fully explain why this spontaneous disassembly occurs. Swipe to see a slow motion boomerang loop of it coming apart- and how conservation of momentum has the three equal mass pieces on equally spaced trajectories (120°) with the ball bearing remaining stationary at the center. A product of puzzle master George Bell.
Get this amazing (and affordable) reproduction here:
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Tesla's Egg of Columbus
This version comes with a 35mm solid aluminum sphere.
Get the aluminum phiTOP "egg" here: BUY NOW phiTOP
Tesla’s Egg of Columbus: an aluminum ellipsoid egg (PhiTOP) mysteriously spins and stands upright in this modern version of Tesla’s famous demonstration from the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago that first showcased the principles behind wireless power transfer and his AC induction motor. The base has no moving parts- instead special copper windings (very similar to Tesla’s original design) form four electromagnet coils on a circular steel core, and a special circuit supplies each with AC currents in such a way that a rotating magnetic field is created. This rotating magnetic field from the coils under the concave glass induces electric eddy currents to flow in the aluminum ellipsoid- these currents then create their own magnetic field which oppose the initial fields underneath and pushes the ellipsoid to spin. Finally, the ellipsoid top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top.