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.
Get this and other wind kinetic art here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Stainless Steel Kinetic Spinners
Warped Spiral Kinetic Art: a slight breeze will set this stainless steel sculpture into graceful and mesmerizing action. When spinning the rotation creates translational motion along the vertical- and each helix in this version has a slight asymmetry that adds to the complexity of the perceived motion.
Get one there:
From Art of Play: BUY NOW: Dymaxion Folding Globe
Dymaxion Map: today some math fun with this unique mapping of the Earth where the globe is projected onto an icosahedron and then unfolded onto two dimensions. Invented by the famous architect R. Buckminster Fuller, the Dymaxion projection map is designed such that it does not have a “right way up” and showing the continents as “one island Earth”. This mapping also produces less distortion of relative areas and shapes- note here that Greenland looks, correctly, much smaller than Africa- unlike what is seen on many world maps where they look the same size. This version, designed by Brendan Ravenhill, uses flat magnets to allow a very satisfying transformation between the flat 2D net and the 3D icosahedron “globe”.
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.
Get this puzzle here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Atomic Cherry Puzzle
Elastic Equilibrium Puzzle: six spheres held together by three plastic springs. When assembled each sphere exerts the same force on its four neighboring spheres, producing this equilibrium state only if all six spheres are used to balance all the forces. A fun configuration to analyze in a 1st year physics course- the Atomic Cherry by Brainwright puzzles.
The kit includes the UV LED base, elegant glass sphere, and enough fluorescent gel for many repeat lights shows.
From PyroFarms: BUY NOW: FluoroSphere
From Amazon: BUY NOW: FluoroSphere
The FluoroSphere: intricate and dynamic lights shows are produced within an elegant glass sphere as fluorescent dyes in mineral oil slowly mix into room temperature water. Ultraviolet LEDs (in the base on which the sphere rests) make the dyes glow brightly and reveal the initial nondiffusive mixing structure which includes the phenomena of drops, plumes, and other features of Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities. Shown here, slightly sped up, is the first 8 minutes or so of the process which takes up to half an hour to mix evenly. The green light is characteristic of the famous fluorescein dye.
Amazing application of high resolution far field holograms. The only available source I know of for projection holograms at this high resolution is this supplier of industrial samples
From MaterialSampleShop.com: Diffractive Optical Element Sample
Need a laser pointer? Incredibly, you can get 3 (one of each color) for under $20 (including S&H):
From Amazon: BUY NOW Red+Green+Purple Laser Pointer
Diffractive Optical Element: images produced by constructive and deconstructive interference of coherent laser light. The patches of microstructure on the surface of this transparent plastic are far field holograms- transmission holograms, but with the image at infinity. Side by side images from two different laser wavelengths (red 635 nm, green 520 nm) shows clearly the red image is larger than the green since diffraction angle is proportional the wavelength. So much physics here!
A KickStarter campaign for resonably priced interactive art:
From KS: Pledge NOW: Cosmic Eye
Cosmic Eye Rheoscopic Device: visualizing the invisible- where suspended microscopic flat crystals reflect light and allow visualization of the fluid's motion. This rheoscopic fluid is special in that the suspended microscopic particles are slightly ferromagnetic and will align with any external magnetic field that is brought near the device. A small magnet within allows interesting interactions as well. From creator and artist Robert Spillner.
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).
Get one from my friends at Grand Illusions!
From Grand Illusions Ltd.: BUY NOW Floating Steam Engine
Engines of similar design are used in pop-pop boats
Tea-Light Floating Engine: a candle powered super simple steam engine. The engine is just a coil of copper tubing filled with water. Steam builds up pushing water out with an explosive jet- which then results in a vacuum in the coil which pulls more water in to repeat the process. The water expulsion is in the form of jet directed out the end of the tube whereas the refill comes back in to the tube from a larger range of angles- so on balance the engine moves opposite to the direction of the jets.
The Nixie Tube Clock in the video is of amazing craftsmanship- real hardwood with brass accents and solid construction. Get one from this excellent shop:
From Etsy: BUY NOW
Nixie Tube Clocks
Nixie Tube Clock V2: 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. The “Numeric Indicator eXperimental 1” or NIX 1 was introduced in 1955 by Burroughs Corporation and manufactured until the 1990s. This clock uses modern electronics to power Russian versions called the ИH-12A where the numbers are stacked so the front symbols obscure each lighted cathode minimally: from back to front 162750483.
Get this super nice, affordable, and fun to assemble kit here:
From KiwiCo: BUY NOW: Glow Pendulum Kit
Get amazing quatilty science kits delievered to your home- this glow pendulum is part of the Tinker Crate subscription.
From KiwiCo: LEARN MORE: Tinker Crate Subscription
Glow Trace Chaotic Pendulum: this fun and amazing DIY kit features a UV diode to trace the intricate path of this double pendulum system on to a phosphorescent screen, revealing the physics of chaotic motion. It’s amazing that such complex motion can arise from a simple assembly of two pendulums, one attached to the end of the other. Chaotic motion, such as that observed here, is characterized by extreme sensitivity to initial starting conditions, tiny differences in how the system is released leads to dramatically different outcomes each time.
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.
Get the spectrum analysis app here: SpectrumView - Oxford Wave Research Ltd.
High Tech Rain Stick: white noise- the sound of two thousand metal spheres falling and bouncing through a plastic labyrinth creates a power spectrum of sound waves with all frequencies at equal intensity, creating the shhh sound we often encounter from many random processes. Part of the cascade slowed to 240 FPS midway through video.
samples available here:
From eBay: BUY NOW Mantle Xenolith Peridotite sample
Peridotite Xenoliths: here before you are chunks of Earth's mantle material from 50 kilometers or deeper below the surface, far below the deepest hole ever drilled at 12.3 km (a great effort which didn't even break through to the mantle). However, green peridotite crystals of olivine and pyroxenes are sometimes brought to the surface by viscous lava in the form of xenoliths- inclusions in the volcanic basalt as seen in this sample. This piece was collected from Peridot Mesa in the San Carlos Volcanic Field of AZ. Amazing sample of the inaccessible Earth's interior.
DM @mi.mo.vi on Instagram to obtain a sculpture like this one.
See other related art physics in my collection: Magnetic Suspension Fun
Magnetic Suspension Sculpture: Steel hoops are suspended by a neodymium super magnet and held down to the base by a thin cord in this beautiful kinetic sculpture by artist @mi.mo.vi The red and blue steel hoops, being ferromagnetic, both become a north pole in the presence of the south pole end of the gold colored magnet, so they are attracted to the gold magnet, but repel each other. The invisible magnetic connection between the rings allows for interesting and chaotic motion as the kinetic energy is transferred back and forth.
Get a beautifully detailed Pluto + Charon here:
From Shapeways: BUY NOW Pluto Charon Set
Scale Model of Pluto–Charon Binary System: shown here with each in orbit around their common center of mass. The orbit distance of Pluto’s primary moon Charon is only 8.2 Pluto diameters away (very close!), and because Charon is 1/2 the size (and 1/8 the mass) of its parent planet, their common center of mass is far outside Pluto’s surface. (For comparison our Moon is 30 Earth diameters away.) This model also correctly shows how both Pluto and Charon are in tidal lock with each other- one side of Pluto always faces one side of Charon, so the orbit period of Charon is equal to one Pluto rotation (6.4 Earth days). I constructed this model using a 3D printed Pluto and Charon set made by George Ioannidis (based on image data from the New Horizons spacecraft) Scale: Earth diameter = 12 inches.