Rose quartz stars come in a variety of sizes and clarity. Available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Rose Quartz Stars
Diasterism in Rose Quartz: illuminate this polished quartz sphere from behind to reveal a six point star with a center that moves with the light source. The rayed star is form of chatoyancy, where the light is scattered by microscopic parallel crystal fibers that grew within the quartz. This is similar to tiger eye chatoyancy, but here the fibers grew along the three different directions of the main crystal symmetry. Such asterisms are more commonly seen in sapphire and ruby gemstones, but can be found in much larger specimens of rose quartz like this one.
Get this set here!
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Dudeney's Dissection 3D Print
Dudeney's Dissection: an equilateral triangle canbe cut (dissected) into four pieces that will then assemble into a square. This 3D printed version comes as a puzzle- fit the pieces in each of two containers- a square and a triangle, which also makes it clear the two supplied shapes are of equal area. Fun fact: It is not known if a similar three piece dissection is possible. Also called Haberdasher's problem and described in 1907 by Henry Dudeney it is the only 4 piece solution known.
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.
Get this device here (in your choice of color):
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Dual Threaded Bolt Print
Dual Threaded Bolt: this 3D printed fidget toy illustrates an interesting design that may have important engineering applications in preventing loosening of fasteners. Here one nut threads on clockwise as normal- the other threads on counterclockwise on the same bolt.
Fully assembeld high quality clocks available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: VFD Tube Clock
Vintage VFD Tube Clock: before seven segment LEDs there were Vacuum Fluorescent Display tubes in which zinc oxide coatings emit green light when bombarded by electrons under high vacuum. A phosphor coated anode segment only illuminates if it and the grid (seen in close up) are both energized at positive potential. This clock features an eight digit IV-18 display tube manufactured in the 1990s and cofigured to power up via a USB cable - old tech meets modern electronics in an elegant acrylic case.
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!
Another version of this puzzle available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Two Marble Puzzle
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Two Marble Puzzle, or get this set of puzzles
Two Marble Puzzle: physics brain teaser- move both marbles to their top locations on each side simultaneously. The solution to this puzzle relies on some fun basic physics principles- can you figure out which ones? Swipe to reveal solution. Found this well made version of this classic physics puzzle at a gift shop in San Francisco (note Golden Gate Bridge motif).
Sphericon and Hexa-sphericon: beautiful works of art in metal- available here!
From the Matter Collection: BUY NOW The Sphericon (Hex and Regular)
3D printed as well as handmade sphericons and similar shapes avaiable here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Sphericons
Hexa-Sphericon: Sphericons are unique solids that roll in such a way that every point on their surface comes in contact with the plane- following the path shown here with white paper. Solids from the sphericon family all have one side and two edges. Each sphericon is based on a regular polygon, with the basic sphericon derived from a square, and here- a more interesting case with more complex rolling motion- from a hexagon.
Similar mood jewelry available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Liquid crystal jewelry
Thermochromic Liquid Crystal “Mood” Necklace: heat from a hand brings out the temperature dependent color change of the liquid crystal. The molecules of the liquid crystal change orientation and spacing during the phase transition from liquid (warm) to crystal (cool). The molecular configuration shift allows for different diffraction effects producing the color shift.
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.
The amazing art of Anne-Lise King available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Kino Lamp Polarizing Art Lights
Lampe Kino: Art from from the manipulation of polarized light. These videos showcase two designs by artist Anne-Lise King, and each design can itself be displayed in numerous ways depending on the orientation of the polarizing filter and the layering of plastic imaging sheets. Light has an orientation, denoted as polarization, and a polarizing filter can be used to block certain orientations. The colors produced here come from how the molecular structure of plastics can rotate the polarization of light that passes through- light corresponding to yellows and greens gets rotated in plastic in proportion to their frequency, red and blue frequencies only a small amount. The images here are constructed with different layers of plastic to rotate the light by differing amounts. Polarizing filters are then added to allow only certain frequencies (colors) of light through.
Click here to visit this amazing Etsy shop Element83
Get a magnetic levitation sculpture here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Diamagnetic Levitation Sculptures
Eclipse diamagnetic levitation sculpture. Cast from diamagnetic Bismuth, a golden spherical neodymium magnet levitates trapped in a tunnel within the metal. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the sphere magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so a powerful cube neodymium magnet sits above the tunnel and is adjusted to help lift the sphere magnet against gravity. Trapped in equilibrium by these fields, any other magnet brought near will change the balance.
This single tube version is an affordable alternative to showcase the vintage aesthetic of the Nixie neon glow:
From eBay: BUY NOW: Single Tube Nixie Clock Base (buy the tube in the next link)
From eBay: BUY NOW: IN14 Nixie Tube
Get the diffraction grating here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Diffraction Grating
Get a beautifully made full four digit clock here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Nixie Tube Clocks
Single Tube Nixie Clock: This minimalist clock uses a standard 5V USB connection and modern electronics to power a single Russian made ИH-14A Nixie tube- here the display shows the time 12:36 flashed in sequence. Long before there were 7 segment LED displays there was the Nixie- cold cathode tubes with a wire mesh and 10 cathodes shaped in the form of numerals 0-9 that illuminate through neon glow discharge at 170Volts. A diffraction grating reveals the brightest emission lines of the neon spectrum including: violet, green, bright yellow, and a bunch of orange/red lines characteristic of this noble has. The “Numeric Indicator eXperimental 1” or NIX 1 was introduced in 1955 by Burroughs Corporation and manufactured until the 1990s.
The Rhoma Cube is a vintage item and can sometimes be found on eBay:
From eBay: Search NOW: Rhoma and Soma Puzzles
Soma Cubes are available in a wide viariety:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Soma Cube
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Soma Cube
SOMA and RHOMA Puzzles: Replace every cube in the Soma puzzle with a rhombohedron to create the Rhoma puzzle- where the seven slanted pieces now make a larger rhombohedron. Here I’ve painted the corresponding Soma and Rhoma pieces to match on these sister puzzles that share identical edge lengths. While there are 240 ways to make the larger cube from the 7 Soma pieces, there is only one solution for the 7 Rhoma pieces. The original Soma Cube is a math toy has an interesting connection to physics- invented by Danish scientist and artist Piet Hein who claimed that this puzzle idea came to him as he was listening to a lecture on Quantum Mechanics by Werner Heisenberg in 1933. The seven pieces are all the ways 3 or 4 cubes can be joined, such that each piece has at least one inside corner.
These vintage watches are not too hard to find:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Borel Cocktail Watches
From eBay: BUY NOW: Borel Cocktail Watches
Moire Kinetic Watch: this beautiful timepiece is an Ernest Borel Cocktail pendant watch made in 1958 featuring the trademark rotating disk (instead of a second hand) which creates a kinetic radiant Moiré pattern. This vintage 17 jewel Swiss watch is old school- powered by a spring that must be wound once a day (elastic potential energy to kinetic).
These prescision kaleidoscopes are crafted from front surface mirrors and other specialty materials, many with innovative desgin and construction techiques:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Kaleidoscopes by Marc Tickle
Tapered Mirror Kaleidoscope: hidden within this colorful tube are 3 mirrors, 2 rolling glass spheres, and 1 dichroic glass reflector. These elements combine to produce the dynamic and magical images seen through the view window as the device is slightly tilted back and forth and brought in and out of a bright light source. This unique teleidoscope design “Disco Dandelion” is but one of many creations by artist Marc Tickle. Invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), the kaleidoscope is an ultimate physics toy and entire field of artistic endeavor.
Tom and Carol Paretti create some of the finest kaleidoscope art in the world: Paretti Kaleidoscopes
Often found on eBay: BUY NOW: Paretti Kaleidoscpes
Other Fine art kaleidoscopes avaibable here from this trusted seller:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Fine Art Kaleidoscopes
More amazing kaliedocsopes from my collection here
Designer Kaleidoscope: the beautiful symmetry of multiple reflections. Tiny glass beads and a collection of shiny objects provide the viewing material in this side-lit precision kaleidoscope by Carol Verde-Paretti. Invented by the famous Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), the kaleidoscope is an ultimate physics toy and entire field of artistic endeavor.
A high quality 3D print (with steel marbles) available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Marble Run Fun
Or print it yourself: From Thingiverse: Cyclone Marble Run
Marble Run 3D Print: a design that looks like it came off the page of a Dr. Seuss book has rolling marbles doing tricks down 3 tracks as potential energy of gravity is converted to kinetic energy. In this mini-marble run a fingertip (or end of a pen) powers an auger conveyor (Archimedes' Screw) to bring the marbles back to the top. A wonderful and whimsical designed by Øyvind Kaurstad.