Physics Lamps & Lights

Frozen Lightning Lamp

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. 

Rolling Ball Fountain

Find this and similar fountains here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Rolling Ball Fountain

Rolling Ball Fountain: this miniature kugel fountain features a glass sphere that sits on a socket of precisely similar shape, and is suspended on a very thin (less than half a mm) film of moving water which greatly reduces friction. The velocity of the water in the thin layer slows as it spreads out via a hole in the socket, and this hole is offset from the center so that the interaction with the water stream sets the ball spinning. A small pump provides the flow rate, and colorful LEDs illuminate the glass sphere to show off the rotation. Perhaps you’ve seen public art installations featuring giant granite spheres weighing tons and yet similarly suspended on a thin layer of flowing water. Physics principles involved here include viscosity and Reynold’s number, the Navier-Stokes equation, Bernoulli’s principle and the study of thin layer lubricants.


Infinity Mirror Light Bulb

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! 

Pearlescent Metallic Lava Lamp

Get this metallic lava version here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Metallic Lava Lamp

From explOratorium store: BUY NOW: Metallic Lava Lamp

See aslo: Magnetic Ferrofluid Lava Lamp

The Lava Lamp: with new pearlescent metallic “lava”- kinetic art with an amazing amount of physics on display: convective heat flow, Archimedes principle, surface tension (note how the smaller blobs form into spheres), and immiscible liquids to name just some of the science behind this famous device. In this loop one can see shock waves ripple through the blobs as they detach, and as they recombine at the bottom. Manufactured by Mathmos and invented in 1963 by Edward Walker of Dorset, England. 

Holiday Specs Holographic Glasses

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.

 

 


Luminglass

These are fairly inexpensive and use two AA batteries. Great for a rave or a physics class! 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Plasma Disk 
From eBay: BUY NOW Plasma Disk 

Larger versions available here: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Luminglas Plasma Disk

Luminglass: with audio modulation. Tesla (high frequency) coil within a noble gas discharge tube just like a plasma globe- these lightning disks also have phosphor covered dielectric pellets that create most of the light when excited by current flow. The intro to Tool's Sober provides audio with sufficient dynamic range to demonstrate the modulation effect.

Slow Dance

This finally crated kinetic art piece avaiable here: 

From Wonder Machines: BUY NOW: Slow Dance

Slow Dance: a kinetic sculpture via induced vibration and high speed strobe lighting in which objects exhibit subtle and beautiful motion when mounted within this special frame. I love how the electromagnet, with its beautiful copper windings, is prominently featured at the bottom of the frame. Electronics within the frame send AC currents to the electromagnet which then pushes and pulls magnets on each side. These magnets are affixed to leaf springs to which feathers, flowers, and other objects are attached with elastic bands. The arrangement is then illuminated by LEDs set to strobe at just the right frequency to produce the slow dance illusion.

Fiber Optic Cactus Lamp

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. 


The PhoTOP

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.

Fresnel Minor Lamp

See the gallery of work by the artist: 
Art Gallery: inquire about availability 
Sean Agustine March

Fresnel Minor Lamp: Microlayers of metals and metal oxides allow a slab of glass to transmit a different color than it reflects through thin-film optical phenomena such as interference and selective absorption. In this remarkable art piece, dichroic glass is combined with infinity mirror type multiple reflections creating this dazzling display of physics! Special thanks to @seanaugustinemarch for this amazing addition to my collection.

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Bright Mineral Fluorescence

Nice specimens can be found here:
From eBay: BUY NOW: Fluorescent Mineral Specimens

The floursecne can only be achived using short wave UV lamps whace can be expensive. Less expensive used and vintage devices are often found here:
From eBay: BUY NOW: Short Wave UV Lamps

Bright Mineral Fluorescence: under short wave ultraviolet light Willemite fluoresces bright green and Calcite (with trace percent Manganese activator) glows orange-pink in this spectacular specimen from the Sterling Hill zinc mine out of New Jersey. The brilliant colors of fluorescence seen here come from exposing the rock to short wave UV (less than 280nm) using a vintage Mineralight brand light. 

 

Lava Lamp in Time-lapse

Available here in many colors and sizes: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Lava Lamps

Lava Lamp in Time-lapse: 15 minutes compressed into 15 seconds gives a different perspective on the processes involved in this classic physics toy from the 1960's. Mesmerizing physics of convective heat flow, Archimedes principle, and immiscible liquids. Manufactured by Mathmos and invented in 1963 by Edward Walker of Dorset England, the Lava Lamp is still popular today and is available in a wide range of colors. 

RGB Color Addition

These Light Blox are available in this nice kit from Laser Classroom, a science education supplier: 
From Laser Classroom: Light, Color and Shadow Kit 

Wikipedia has a fantastic introduction on the topic of RGB Color Theory 

RGB Color Addition: three LED light boxes demonstrate the additive nature of colored light. Mixing Red, Green, and Blue to create Yellow, Magenta, and Cyan. An object casts shadows showing the following mixings: R+G=Y, G+B=C, and R+B=M. Adding all three R+G+B produces White (a little pinkish here as the Red is a little bit bright for complete white balance). RGB color addition is the basis for all computer and TV displays- all the colors you are looking at right now on your screen are made from adding pixels of R G and B in different proportions and intensities!


Viscous Flow Mixing Bulbs

Special discount for @physicsfun followers: use coupon code below! 
From EP DesignLab: BUY NOW 
EP Lights LED Bulb Art 

coupon code: PHYS2019 (10% off) 

Viscous Flow Mixing Bulbs: art from mixing high viscosity fluids. Each LED bulb from EP Designlab captures a unique pattern based on the physics of laminar flow folding resulting from the mixing of viscous fluids- in this case silicone resins. When the resins cure the pattern is captured and frozen in place ready to display as illuminated by an array of 5 LEDs in the standard E26 bulb base. With this process no two bulbs are alike, and all capture intricate mixing physics.

Viscous Flow Resin Lamps

From EP Designlab: BUY NOW: Block Design Resin Lamps
Batteries last 3hours + and each lamp comes with a charging cable
Special discount for @physicsfun followers on all EP Lights
use coupon code: PHYS2019 (10% off) 
on all  EP Lights LED Bulb Art 

Viscous Flow Resin Lamp: art from mixing high viscosity fluids. Each lamp from EP Designlab captures a unique pattern based on the physics of nondiffusive turbulence resulting from the mixing of viscous fluids- in this case silicone resins. When the resins cure the pattern is captured and frozen in place- and these blocks are ready to display with USB rechargeable LED illumination in the base. With this process no two lamps are alike, and all capture intricate mixing physics.

 

Tesla's Plasma Mug

This plasma mug was sold in the 1990s but can be found on eBay often:
From eBay: BUY NOW: Plasma Mug

An improved and beautiful version sold here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Plasma Mug

Tesla’s Plasma Mug: this double walled glass mug glows orange from the excitation spectrum of neon gas at low pressure. The base contains a high frequency transformer that generates high voltage electric fields (but at very low current) from 8 AA batteries- which excites the neon to glow, and also serves as a coaster. This crazy item was produced by Can You Imagine Toys in the 1990s- perhaps Tesla himself would have served a good beer in this mug!