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Acasta Gneiss

Samples of the oldest know Earth rock available here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Acasta Gneiss Specimens 

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Wikipedia has the details on Acasta Gneiss and see the next video and links for more geophysics fun! 

Acasta Gneiss: this polished sphere is a sample from the oldest known rock formation on Earth- rocks from this area are dated as old as 4.03 billion years old based on multiple and mutually consistent radiometric dating techniques. This gneiss is only found in the Northwest Territories of Canada and was collected by Yellowknife resident Mark Brown. 

Earth Mass Black Hole with Space Warping Display Stand

Precision machined tungsten alloy spheres available here:

From STEMCell Science: BUY NOW: Tungsten Black Hole Replica

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Earth Mass Black Hole: this sphere of tungsten alloy has a diameter of 17.7mm, a precision representation of the size of the event horizon of a black hole with a mass equal to that of the Earth! If the entire mass of the earth could somehow be compressed to the size of this sphere, it would indeed collapse to a black hole with an event horizon defined by a Schwarzschild radius of 8.87mm. For comparison a black hole with the mass of the sun would be 6km across. This black hole replica is made of one of the densest materials available, a tungsten alloy with ρ=18.5 g/cm³ which produces a strange sensation when you hold it, with a weight of twice that of a ball bearing of equal size.

Natural Mineral Fluorescence 

Get ruby in matrix stones and jewelry here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Ruby Glow Stones

and find the sodalite bright orange fluorescent syenite here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Orange Glow Stones

You will also want an awesome UV flashlight like this one:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: High Power UV Light

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Natural Mineral Fluorescence: Four mineral specimens that emit a surprising bright glow under long wave ultraviolet light (from left to right): a clear calcite crystal glows pink, a carved obelisk of grey syenite with grains of sodalite(bright orange), a carved piece of green fuchsite with red ruby inclusions(red glow) and veins of white calcite(bright white), and a polished slab of lapis lazuli with speckles of the mineral hauynite (yellow glow). The colorful glow comes from complex quantum mechanical behavior where high energy UV photons are absorbed and then lower energy photons are emitted- the physics of fluorescence.

Magnetic Hoops Suspension Sculpture 2.0

Get this affordable sculpture here:

From Mr.Sci Science Factory: BUY NOW: KInetic Magnetic Sculpture

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Magnetic Hoops Suspension Sculpture 2.0: Steel circles are suspended by a magnet (black disk) and held down to the base by a thin thread. The tops of the steel hoops, being ferromagnetic, become a north pole in the presence of the south pole end of the black magnet, so they are attracted to the black magnet, but repel each other. Produced by Funtime Gifts Europe Ltd. this is a new and affordable version of a vintage sculpture made by Rathcon Inc. in 1970.

Flower with Coronal Discharge: Disk Tesla Coil

Create amazing Telsa coil lighning at an affordable price! Please be sure to employ all appropriate safety precautions when utilizing any electrical circuity.  

From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Disk Tesla Coil

Click here for similar amazing devices from engineDIY

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Coronal Brush Discharge + Flower: electric fields are concentrated at the sharp points of the petals of this ice plant bloom allowing coronal brush discharges to form miniature lightning bolts. The high voltage is supplied by a novel disk coil variation of the famous air core double-tuned resonate transformer invented by Nikola Tesla in 1891. In this novel design the coil is created using modern printed circuit board (PCB) technology producing a spiral of many conductive windings, so thin and close together it looks a bit like a gold phonograph record. Powered by a 24V DC supply, this unit is fairly safe due to a low current (mA)- the discharge feels like a light tickle (but don’t touch the electrode- it gets hot).

1 mole Carbon Block

Avialable exclusively from:

STEMCell Science Shop: BUY NOW: 1 mole Carbon Block

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1 mole Carbon Block: by Avogadro’s famous number there are 6.022×10^23 atoms contained within a mole of substance- a very large number because atoms are very tiny. This chunk of graphite is precisely cut to weigh 12.011 grams, and hence when you pick it up you will have, in your hand, 6.022×10^23 Carbon atoms (to better than 1 part per thousand). That’s 602.2 billion, times a trillion, atoms! Such numbers are a challenge to conceptualize, so in collaboration with STEMCell Science Shop we introduce our specially cut and engraved “1 mole of Carbon Block”— to put an Avogadro’s Number of atoms on your shelf. 

You might also like: our Earth Mass Blackhole Replica

Impossible Braid 

Get nice examples of mystery braids here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Impossible Braid Key Fob

Here is a great video on how to make the mystery braid

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See other Impossible Objects in my collection. 

Mystery Braid: challenge- how can three strands be braided if both sets of ends are connected? A favorite in my collection of “impossible objects”, this leather key fob is braided from a single piece of leather, constructed by making two parallel slits but not cutting the ends. The solution (demonstrated here with red felt) is well known to those in the field of leatherwork- due to a twist of topology it’s possible to make this braid if the number of left strand over right crossings equals the times the right strand crosses over the left. Four strands braided this way is not mathematically possible, but 3, 5, or any odd number can be done! 




Kluster Magnetic Challenge Game

Get this fun magnetic game here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Kluster Magnet Game

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Kluster Magnetic Challenge Game: explore mysterious action at distance via magnetic fields with this fun game setup. Note how the polished barium-strontium ferrite ceramic magnets repel each other when properly oriented, but once one flips over the unstable equilibrium gives way to the north/south attraction, and they quickly snap together. The game is played by taking turns placing the magnets within the boundary of the cord without any jumping together- the first to place all their magnets in the loop without any “clustering” wins, if some do cluster you take those magnets and lose your turn. Comes with the cord and a nice velvet storage bag.

Specular Hologram on Vinyl: Lazzretto

For the price of a vinyl LP you can own the amazing artwork of Tristan Duke. This album by Jack White is damn good as well (I also got the digital download with the vinyl purchase). 

From Amazon: BUY NOW Jack White Lazaretto (Vinyl) 

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Specular Hologram on Vinyl: the album Lazaretto by Jack White features this amazing "scratch hologram" of a twirling angel (shown here accompanied by the opening bars from the title track of the album). The hologram was hand etched on the metal master 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. This album has a lot of other interesting features including dual grooves that allows for two different intros to one track (depending on where the needled is dropped) and side A plays from the inside out- fun! 

Slinky on an Escalator Phonotrope Spinner

Get this amazing spinner here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Animated Slinky Spinner

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3D Phonotrope Spinner: slinky on an escalator! When the rate of rotation matches the rate of the smartphone video process (wait for it) 12 animated 3D-printed slinkys “spring” into motion. The 3D printed and precisely placed depictions of the famous toy is specifically designed to interact with the video process, similar to the animation effect of a flip book, but in a repeating cycle like that of the phenakistiscope, the 1833 invention that started moving media animation that lead to the development of movies and video. 

Liquid Pythgorean Proof

Get this inexpensive demo here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Pythagorean Theorem Proof Wheel

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Liquid Demo of the Pythagorean Theorem: a proof, in physical form, of one of the most famous equations concerning the sides of any right triangle. The area of a square with side c of the hypotenuse is indeed equal to the sum of the areas of the squares of side a and b. An excellent print and design by Kiegan Brewer of Printed Teacher Crafts. 

Ferromagnetic Interaction

Here is the NdFeB neodymium magnet used in this video:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Neodymium Disk Magnet

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Please use extreme caution when handeling strong magnets like this one. Small nails, paperclips, staples and other houlshold object made with iron will interact interestingly with the magnetic field. 

Ferromagnetic Interaction: iron rich nails temporarily become dipole magnets in the presence of an intense magnetic field from a large neodymium super magnet. Here the neodymium disk magnet is set with its north pole pointing up, so the point of each nail becomes a south pole (repelling each other) and the head of each a north pole. Imbued with these temporary induced fields, the nails will try to align themselves with the neodymium dipole’s field like compass needles, and the nails will interact with each other in interesting ways.

Gyroscopically Stabilized Rail Runner

Get this inexpensive toy here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Gyroscope Rail Toy

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Gyroscopically Stabilized Rail Runner: this toy remains upright on a single wheel as it travels along any thin rail or tightrope. A flywheel with considerable mass is ramped up to high RPMs via a small motor powered by two AA batteries (a stand is provided for this initial process to complete). Once operating speed is obtained the device will keep its orientation due to conservation of angular momentum, allowing it to seemingly magically balance on one point. The motor also turns the drive wheel which propels the device along any thin guide rail. 

In-Feed Google

Floating Teapot Illusion Foutain

Get this USB and/or battery powered fountain here:

From Amazon:BUY NOW: Floating Teapot Fountain

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Levitating Teapot Fountain: water flows continuously from a small teapot seemingly floating in air. What physics do you think is involved in this battery powered fountain? An April First post for 2024! 


Thermochromic Eclipse Postage Stamps

Available from the US Post Office and here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Thermochromic Eclipse Stamps 

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Thermocromic Eclipse Postage Stamps: In commemoration of the 2017 total solar eclipse the US Post Office released their first ever stamp featuring thermocromic ink. The first physics toy stamp! Thermotropic liquid crystals go from opaque to transparent during a phase change from a crystal to liquid state. Here the warmth of the hand reveals the face of the moon in front of the solar corona. Almost seven years later another total eclipse will take place across part of the US on April 8- I’ll be in San Antonio for the event! 

Eclipse Diamagnatic Sculpture

Click here to visit this amazing Etsy shop Element83 
Get a magnetic levitation sculpture here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Diamagnetic Levitation Sculptures 

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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. 


Eclipse Bookmark

Get this bookmark/lenticular art here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Total Solar Eclipse Bookmark

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Total Solar Eclipse Bookmark: this book features a wonderful use of lenticular animation to show the stages of a total solar eclipse- full sun, partial, diamond ring, and the solar corona as seen in full totality. With a Full Moon last night we are now just 14 days away from the North American Eclipse!