Get similar crystals here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Rainbow Inclusion Quartz Specimens
Iridescent Inclusion: this chunk of quartz has multiple “rainbow inclusions” that flicker brightly in and out of view depending on the angle between the illuminating light source and the eye. The amazing color banding emanates from very thin cracks in the crystal which allows light to be reflected from two surfaces that are only separated by 1/2 the wavelength of visible light (in the range of 500 nm), allowing light waves of various colors to undergo constructive and deconstructive interference, like that of oil on water. The thickness of the crack gets a tiny bit wider from one side to the other resulting in the banding of colors as light of different wavelengths cancel out or reinforce in intensity. The physics of thin film interference “frozen” within this freeform chunk of natural quartz.
From Grand Illusions LTD: BUY NOW: Magentic Tractor Demo
Magnetic Tractor: special configuration of permanent magnetic poles captures a dipole magnet without contact. Only works in 2D but cool nonetheless!
This DIY magneits sculpture can be assemebled with these parts. Bring a magnet into a craft shop to find some necklace chain that is non-magnetic.
From Amazon/eBay: BUY NOW: Quilting Hoop, Neodyumium Sphere Magnets
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 Suspension Sculpture: two neodymium magnets on chains suspended by their mutual magnetic attraction in this prototype kinetic sculpture (swipe to see scaled fine jewelry version by foxtailjewelry). These powerful magnets hold the chains taut with about a 2cm gap. Made from a quilting hoop where the magnets connect under their own force to steel nails soldered on to non-magnetic chain.
Get a sample here:
From eBay: BUY NOW Optical Calcite Crystal
From Amazon: BUY NOW Optical Calcite Crystal
Get inexpensive polarizing filters here:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Polarizing Filter Sheets
Need a UV laser pointer? Get 3 lasers (one of each color) for under $10 (including S&H):
From eBay: BUY NOW red+green+blue(UV) laser pointers
Fluorescence and Birefringence in Calcite: two samples of calcite- each with different impurities that produce blue fluorescence for the small crystal and red fluorescence for the larger one under a 405nm violet laser. Also one can clearly see that the single laser beam takes two paths through the crystals- the speed of light in a calcite crystal depends on polarization because the refractive index is different depending on the polarization orientation of the light transmitted through it (swipe for demonstration). As a polarizing filter is rotated 90 degrees, one image appears and the other vanishes, showing that the polarization orientation of the light of the two images is indeed perpendicular. In addition the elegant rhombohedral nature of calcite crystals is obvious in this sample.
Get a rechargable circular plasma ignition source here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Spinning Arc Lighter
Plasma Arc Lighter Physics: a rotating arc of plasma exceeds 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 involves 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- basically a Tesla coil for your pocket!
Invented in 1994 and designed and built in Germany, the microlouver masks are precision engineered to give 10 minute accuracy to the digital sundial. Learn more about the inventors and how to buy a digital sundial for your specific latitude here:
From Digital Sundials International: Digital Sundial
Digital Sundial: a complex array of thinly layered microlouvers allows the control of transmitted sunlight depending on angle. Time is read by looking at the reflection of the filter in the bottom mirror. 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM shown here in 15 seconds of time lapse- note the movement of the shadow cast by the sun as the Earth turns underneath during this 2.5 hour interval. Astonishing engineering.
I got this fun device here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Haptic Magnet Toys
Magnetic Fidget Physics: iron rich ball bearings temporarily become dipole magnets and repel each other- and when manipulated they keep their distance. In this design the ball bearings snap into place above one of the seven neodymium magnets embedded within the 3D printed disk.
This beautifully made puzzle available here::
From Etsy: BUY NOW Rhombic Blocks
Rhombic Blocks Mathematical Puzzle: There are 9 possible ways three rhombuses can be joined together along a common edge, and similar to pentominoes, these 9 tri-rhombs can tile a polyhedron, in this case a hexagon. There are 14 solutions to this puzzle, and one where no same-colored pieces touch. A beautiful math discovery by puzzle master Stuart Coffin.
Similar ferrofluid devices available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Ferrofluid Sculptures
Ferrofluid Magnetic Tree Sculpture: the 'Nano Tree' by Concept Zero designs using gold colored ferrofluid which can be manipulated with a handheld magnet. The spiky structure is due to the balance between the forces from the focused magnetic fields (from a neodymium magnet in the base connected to an iron rich bolt) and the forces from liquid surface tension on the colloidal ferromagnetic liquid.
Get a set here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Ceramic Magnet Kit (6)
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Ceramic Magnet Kit (18)
Ceramic Magnet Symmetries: this set of spherical dipole magnets allows for exploration of stacking and linking symmetries, including a hexagon in 2D and a tetrahedron in 3D. An oddly satisfying physics fidget!
Many versions to choose from- get one here!
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Galileo Thermometer
Galilean Thermometer: time lapse- 60 minutes condensed to 30 seconds. One of my favorite physics toys, but challenging to make into any kind of interesting video. Here a change of about 14 degrees F is shown as the device cools down and the bulbs rise. I filmed the process three times each with somewhat different intermediate states. This thermometer works on Archimedes' principle of buoyancy- as the the water in the column cools down its density increases and objects (glass bulbs) with less mean density begin to rise. The bulbs are calibrated into 2 degree F increments from 70 F to 82 F.
Starter set of 10mm cubes of 99.9% pure elemets available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Pure Element Cube Samples
The main 4 ferromagnetic elements are: Fe, Co, Ni, and Gd.
Ferromagnetic Elements: which metals from the periodic table experience strong attraction towards a magnet? Here are seven samples- 1 cm cubes of 99% pure elements: Ti (titanium), Fe (iron), Co (cobalt), Ni (nickel), Cu (copper), Gd (gadolinium), and W (tungsten)- which of these metals are ferromagnetic? Swipe once to check your answer, swipe twice to see how some are more strongly ferromagnetic than others. Although magnets are familiar objects, the physics of ferromagnetism is very complex and is described by the quantum mechanics of intrinsic particle spin and the specific electron configurations of solids and molecules.
Vintage Wham-O Magic Windows are almost always available on eBay :
From eBay: BUY NOW Vintage Magic Window
See other sand physics here: Kinetic Sandscapes
Wham-O Magic Window: a popular 1970s toy with immiscible sand like substances interacting under gravity to create images that evoke seascapes and mountains. Unlike most shifting sand devices available today, the Magic Window did not contain any liquid- all the interesting behavior results from the physics of granular materials, specifically interactions due to different sizes and shapes (jagged like salt or round like glass beads) of the grains comprising the different colored “sands”. Shown here is a vintage retail store display stand with the rare “Crystal Fantasy” version of this kinetic art toy.
Get this well made woodworked illuson here:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Kellar Trivet
More on the second illusion: Skye Cafe Illusion
Café Wall Illusion Trivet: slide half the bars and to the right the lines look parallel and straight, slide them back to the left and the illusion of crookedness returns. Note that even after we verify the lines are parallel, our perception still misleads- a reminder that we need science to transcend the limits of our senses and cognition. A creative woodworked trivet for the kitchen table by Tony Potter. Swipe to view an award winning version of this illusion by Victoria Skye.
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: 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 as 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.
Similar innovative rolling ball sculptures available here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Marble Machine
From Etsy: BUY NOW: 3D Printed Marble Runs
See more (miniture) marble runs here: Marble Run Fun
Rolling Marble Sculpture: marbles perform gymnastics as potential energy of gravity is converted to kinetic energy. An elegantly designed auger conveyor, an Archimedes' Screw, brings the marbles back to the top (powered by an AA battery and a small motor). Conservation of angular momentum produces a simulation of decaying orbits as the marbles whirl down the the main funnel shaped feature.
Available from these fine sources:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Viewer Set (get the demo set)
Similar device here:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Viewer with Magnet
Iron Filings in Silicone Oil Suspension ( Iron filing field detector ): visualizing the invisible- the magnetic field lines around a horseshoe magnet. In the presence of a magnetic field, ferromagnetic materials (such as iron) temporarily become magnets. Here the iron filings become dipole magnets and link up and align like tiny compass needles to follow and reveal the magnetic field lines associated with the permanent magnet underneath. Viscous silicone oil temporarily keeps the iron particles suspended yet allows for rotation and repositioning under the influence of the magnetic field.
All the ingredients are available from your local market/drugstore. The trick is to find a dye that works for acetone, but will not color water- believe it on not blue glitter will color the acetone nicely and not change the salt water. Follow this link for details:
ChemEd X: Blog of Prof. Tom Kuntzleman
Of course Amazon has what you will need:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
acetone, blue glitter, food coloring, cool bottle
Salt Fractionation: two liquids that won’t stay mixed! Acetone (dyed blue) floats on top of the higher density salt water (dyed orange). Acetone usually dissolves in water through hydrogen bonding interactions, but solubility can be altered. In a process called “salting out” a sufficient amount of salt is dissolved such that the water molecules, which are much more attracted to the resulting Na+ and Cl- ions (through ion-dipole bonds), will then ignore the weaker acetone hydrogen bonds. This results in the spontaneous separation (shown here in real time) of the liquids no matter how well shaken up.