Recent Posts

Magic Octogon Paradox

Get this new amazing coin here:

From Shire Post Mint: BUY NOW: Magic Octagon Coin

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Magic Octagon Paradox: flip the coin and the arrows on each side point in opposite directions- however, after a small shift, the same coin has these two arrows pointing in the same direction! A brain teaser that can be explained via geometry, symmetry, rotations, reflections, and how our intuitions often fail us upon first attempts. See my post two weeks back for another fun way to present this challenge. These beautiful copper coins are minted in collaboration with my friends at @shirepostmint and are available now. 

Wonder Kinetic Sculpture

Created by Tom Lawton to meticulous standards, learn more here:

From beuplifted.co.uk: Wonder Kinetic

Wonder: enigmatic and transcendent, a ribbon of metallic luster rotates producing a kinetic animation that delights and challenges the senses. Connecting rotational and translational motion with Lissajous type forms, the Wonder kinetic sculpture uses a rotating base to produce aesthetic fluid motions that seem incongruous. Another stunning creation by artist and inventor Tom Lawton. 

Magnaprobe and Magnetic Veiwing Film

Get this inexpensive tool here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Magnetic Field Probe

The magnetic viewing film can be purchased here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Color Magnetic Viewing Film

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Magnaprobe: visualizing the invisible- a small bar magnet on a gimbal mount demonstrates magnetic field direction for points in space around a magnetized object. Red indicates the north pole and blue the south pole of the Magnaprobe dipole- the red end is attracted to any other magnet’s south pole like a 3D compass. Magnetic viewing film reveals a cross section of the magnetic field where colors correspond to intensity, but can’t show the direction of the field like the magnaprobe device can. Together these devices give us insights about the existence of magnetic fields that our five senses cannot detect.


Anamorphic Locomotion Cup & Saucer II

Animated bird set available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Luycho Locomotion Cup & Saucer 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Locomotion Anamorphic Cup & Saucer: Another expertly crafted product from @luycho using an amazing combination of barrier grid animation and anamorphic projection rendered on elegant porcelain. The warped image on the saucer is reconstructed by reflection off the surface of the cup, however the gold mirroring is comprised of parallel lines that only reflect part of the image pattern. Turing the cup (or the saucer and cup together) reveals a flying bird! 

Buda Ball

Only made by the Flyte team:

From Art of Play: Buda Ball

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Buda Ball: my favorite powered levitation device- and the only system I know of that will suspend in a horizontal direction as seen in this video. A spherical magnet is pinned 1.5 centimeters from the surface of its hardwood base. Within the base is an innovative control system with adjustable electromagnet coils in a feedback loop with Hall effect sensors (I assume) which allow for fine tuning of a magnetic field to precisely balance the pull of gravity- even when the base is in a vertical orientation! 

Arrow on Mobius Strip

Get this fun demostration printed here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Mobius Strip with Arrow

Get the 3D print stl files here:
From printables: download now: Mobius Strip with Arrow

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Arrow on Möbius Strip: on the geometry of a Möbius strip a right pointing arrow points left after one trip around, a second trip restores the original orientation. This mathematical property is called non-orientability, and is also true of Klein bottles which I’ve posted about. I love how this 3D printed model, designed and produced by Wes Pegden, allows one to physically manipulate and intuit this somewhat obscure mathematical property. 


Electromagnetic Levitation Module

Get this kit here (comes complete as shown in my video):
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Magnetic Levitation Module

The featured sculture is by Bathsheba Grossman, affordable and beautiful math art available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Soliton Sculpture

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Electromagnetic Levitation Module: this engineered control system uses adjustable electromagnets (four copper coils) and and two Hall effect magnetic field sensors (held firm embedded in white silicone) to levitate an 5cm diameter neodymium magnet platform about 3 cm in mid-air. A feedback loop informed by the Hall effect sensors allows fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity, and is powered by a standard USB connection. The platform also rotates, perfect for showcasing one of my metal 3D printed mathematical sculptures by Bathsheba Grossman.

Zoetrope Vinyl

Get this amazing vinyl here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Dune Rats Zoetrope Vinyl

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Zoetrope Vinyl: slight adjustment of the iPhone camera frame rate reveals an amazing animation built into this multicolored vinyl release “Hurry Up and Wait” by the Dune Rats. The art is 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. 

 

Sphericon Frame Roller

Get one here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Quantum Sphericon

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Sphericon Frame Roller: beautiful 3D printed version of a developable roller (an object that rolls where every point on the roller’s surface comes into contact with the plane upon which it rolls). The sphericon (based on a square) rolls in a straight line with a peculiar wobble motion and was discovered in 1980 by David Hirsch and is but one of a family of such rollers called polycons. 


Oil Drop Timer

Available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Drop Timer 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Oil Drop Timer: immiscible liquids (typically, colored oils in kerosine) in two connected containers with interesting semi-translucent white and opaque black oils in this variation on the bubble timer theme. The oil in each container falls through a small drop forming hole in between clear walls of acrylic- note how surface tension forms the drops into nearly perfect circles and regulates the size of the drop formation. In addition the drops fall at terminal velocity with smaller drops falling faster than larger ones. One of my favorite inexpensive physics toys. 

The Magic Octagon Coin

Get this new amazing coin here:

From Shire Post Mint: BUY NOW: Magic Octagon Coin

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

“Magic Octagon” Challenge: introducing a beautiful copper coin version of this puzzle of successive rotations. Which way will the light arrow point after left and right rotations of the dark arrow? No trickery here- just the math of geometry, symmetry, rotations, and reflections and how our intuitions often fail us upon first attempts. Swipe twice for second challenge. In collaboration with my friends at @shirepostmint 

 

Magnetic Influence on Aluminum

For this demonstration stronger magnets work best:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Neodymium Magnets

Here is a good small turntable with bearings: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Spinning Base

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Magnetic Influence on Aluminum: physics puzzler- spin a magnet under a beer can suspended by a thread, and the can will turn. Why? Aluminum is not ferromagnetic, and as shown, magnets are not attracted to the can.  So how does a spinning magnet influence the can to spin? 

 

Answer: the can spins due to eddy currents induced in the conducting aluminum due to the moving magnetic fields underneath. The eddy currents make the can into a temporary electromagnet that then interacts with the magnets below according to the famous law by Lenz.


Perpetual Motion Simulator V2.0 (reveal)

This new demonstration transparent model is available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Transparent Perpetual Simulator

Get the original here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Perpetual Marble Machine (reccomended seller: William Le of BackToNatureDecor)

The magnetic viewing film can be purchased here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Color Magnetic Viewing Film

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Perpetual Motion Simulator V2.0 (reveal): a follow up post using magnetic viewing film and slow motion to actually see the magnetic pulse that accelerates the ball. The sensor conveniently has a red LED indicator which flashes, and then we see the appearance of the magnetic field pulse as the circuit discharges the capacitors through the coil. The original version of this device was expertly crafted to make the base look like a block of wood (see post from November), but here we see a battery, a coil, a set of large capacitors, and a blue sensor unit along with circuit boards. Pretty sophisticated stuff- and a great reminder that when someone claims a perpetual motion device the question to ask is “where’s the battery hidden?”

2-Mirror Kaleidoscope 

Lief Colson's store is now Colorfulscopes on Etsy with many designs to choose from- all with precision aligned high quality front surface mirrors: 
From Etsy store Colorfulcopes : BUY NOW Precision Teleidoscopes 

Amazing next-level fine art kaleidoscopes avaibable here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Fine Art Kaleidoscopes

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

2-Mirror Kaleidoscope: two mirrors, precisely aligned at an 18 degree angle, produce a 10 fold symmetry, where bits of colored plastic morph into stars, pentagons, and flowers as this unique kaleidoscope is turned back and forth. An elegant anodized blue metallic cylinder encapsulates a universe of possible images within. Another amazing kaleidoscope in my expanding collection, made by artist Lief Colson.

Moon and Earth Globes- to scale! 

This moon globe is available here:

From globemakers.com: BUY NOW: 3.3" Moon Globe

Check out too this amazing lunar globe

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Moon and Earth Globes: to scale! In anticipation of the upcoming solar eclipse here are two of the participants. This moon globe is special, measuring 3.3 inches in diameter- the size it would be in proper proportion to a 12 inch Earth globe. Using this same scale, the Moon globe would be orbiting 30 feet away from the Earth globe. To scale 3.3 inch Moon globes are hard to find, this one was made by Greaves & Thomas.


Pickagram Puzzle

Get this well made puzzle here:

From Art of Play: BUY NOW: PIckagram Puzzle

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Pickagram: an innovative update on the classic Tangram puzzle- magnets added! With pieces that cling together with a satisfying snap, the 2D puzzle formations become 3D abstract sculptures that can stand on their own. From the mind of designer and architect Gilryong Song, with inspiration from the golden ratio in its proportions and angles.

Spiderman Hologram

This vintage hologram still available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Spiderman Hologram

Similar vintage holograms are currently available on Etsy in limited quantities: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Photopolymer True Hologram

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Spiderman Hologram: amazing 3D depth in this vintage hologram from 1995 encoded on thin red plastic and sold as a sticker- the image only appears if a light source is placed above the top of the composition at the correct angle. Unlike photographs, holograms are recordings of the interference pattern of light waves, and this encoded information is stored in a layer thinner than a sheet of paper. 

Five Orbiforms: Volumes of Constant Width

Get this set here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: set of 5 Solids of Constant Width
Use code: FFMPHYSICSFUN to get 25% off from this shop

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Five Orbiforms: precision 3D printed vo5umes of constant width. These shapes have constant diameter no matter their orientation and will roll like spheres between two planes- note how the acrylic plate stays parallel to the table as the sphere and other orbiforms roll underneath. The one that resembles a pyramid is the Meissner tetrahedron, which is conjectured to be the orbiform of least volume. A sphere is the orbiform of maximal volume, and the others are based on revolutions of the Reuleaux triangle, pentagon, and heptagon respectively. Skillfully printed in two colors by Brandon of Fractal Forest Makes.