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Physics Toy Store 08

Fiber Optic Cactus Lamp

Vintage fiber optic lamps like this one are available on eBay most of the time:

From eBay: BUY NOW Vintage Fiber Optic Flower

Reflection Symmetry Sculpture by Steinbach

This sculpture and others available here:

From eBay: BUY NOW Steinbach Reflection Scupltures

Homopolar Motor

Fairly simple to make- here are the inexpensive supplies needed to make a few of these motors.
AA batteries have a diameter of 14.5 mm, so a bottom magnet with a diameter of 15 mm is just right:

From eBay: BUY NOW Neodymium Disk Magnet

Wire that looks and works well is just 10 gauge ground wire. Inexpensive and available at any local hardware store-- or order a small quantity here:

From eBay: BUY NOW 10 gauge Copper Wire

Wikipedia has some good details on the physics of homopolar motors

Tumble Rings
I made this set of tumble rings from reading Martin Gardner's description in his famous mathematical recreations books- highly recommended:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Knots and Borromean Rings by Martin Gardner Describes the Tumble Rings

From Amazon: BUY NOW Books on recreational math and puzzles by Martin Gardner Lots of physics and math toys in these pages!

Here is the mega tippe-top compared to typical tippe-tops on the market and a US quarter dollar:
Limited quantities available from the Spinning Top and Yo-Yo Museum of Burlington, Wisconsin
Educational Innovations has reasonably priced wood tippe-tops in their shop:

From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Tippe-Tops
From Amazon: BUY NOW Tippe-Tops

Aluminum Tippe-Top

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Get one here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Aluminum Precision Tippe-Top

Fine Wood Tippe-Top

Fine Wood Tippe-Top: spinning things often have surprising physics! This lathe worked version of the famous flip-over top is made of ebony and wood from the pink ivory tree in the shop of artist Neal Brand (follow link in bio for details). Friction with the mirror provides a torque that acts on the existing angular momentum of the top to flip it over. The top will stay flipped until the spin rate slows down enough to where its center of mass pulls it back to the resting position. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for for details on where to get a tippe-top like this one and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #tippytop #tippetop #torque #angularmomentum #physics #physicstoy #flip #flipover #precession #spin #spinning #top #spinningtop #science #scienceisawesome

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From the Etsy Store of Neal Brand. See his selection of hardwood tops here:

From Etsy: Tippe-Tops by Neal Brand

Check out my short blog post on the history and physics of the Tippe-Top

South Pointing Spoon:

From Grand Illusions Ltd: BUY NOW Ancient Compass Replica

Airplane Glory

Airplane Glory: optical phenomenon that forms rings of color in the clouds- in this case around the shadow of my 737 flight, and is not the same physical process as that of a rainbow. Airplane glories are produce only by very tiny droplets (tens of visible light wavelengths across) in the cloud, and arise due to complex process called wave tunneling, where the electromagnetic waves that make the colors are induced in the drop by a photon only passing close by its surface. Interestingly, the exact details of this phenomenon is still an active area of research! Caught this out the window returning yesterday from a national science teaches convention in Atlanta. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for more info and for details on where to get many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicsfun #optics #rainbow #interference #irredescent #pilotsglory #airplaneglory #clouds #optics #brochenspectre #science #NSTA #scienceisawesome

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Wikipedia has this introduction to the phenomena of the Aircraft Glory
For a detailed discussion with math, see this entry from the Physics Stack Exchange

Shadow Stereographic Projection

Shadow Stereographic Projection: 3D printed sculptures that cast geometric shadows. When illuminated by a point source of light (placed at the top pole of the sphere) the shadow cast by the rays of light represent a one to one mapping of the points on the sphere to points on the plane- creating a square grid, and a honeycomb of regular hexagons. Stereographic projection is often used in representing the geography of the globe of our planet on to a flat map. Mathematical art by Henry Segerman. ➡ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get these and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicstoy #physicsfun #math #mathtoy #mathstoy #mathematicalart #shadow #3dprinting #stereographicprojection #science #grid #honeycomb #scienceisawesome

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These mathematical art objects are created by Henry Segerman and available here:

From Shapeways: BUY NOW Mathematical Art

Wikipedia has a nice introduction to the math and applications of stereographic projection.

Curves of Constant Width

Curves of Constant Width: a Pi Day feature- regardless of the precise shape, any curve of constant width has a perimeter equal to pi times its width! These convex shapes will roll because like a circle they have the same diameter from one side to the other no matter their orientation. Here are two famous examples: the Reuleaux triangle (found in rotary engines) and a Reuleaux pentagon- note how the two straightedge rulers remain parallel as the shapes rotate between them, just as one would expect circles to behave! These physical representations of the special curves seen here are produced by Maths Gear, owned and operated by Matt Parker and Steve Mould out of Great Britain. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get these and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun @festivalofthespokennerd #maths #mathsgear #math #mathtoy #piday #mathstoy #coolmath #shapeofconstantwidth #reuleaux #reuleauxtriangle #physics #physicstoy #geometry #orbiform #convex #polygon #wankleengine #science #scienceisawesome

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Get a set here:

From Maths Gear: BUY NOW Curves of Constant Width (set of 4)

Andrus Tri-Zonal Space Warper

Available here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Andrus Tri-Zonal Space Warper
From eBay: BUY NOW Tri-Zonal Space Warper

Magician and professor of psychology Richard Wiseman describes the genius of Jerry Andrus and the psychophysics of the Space Warper.

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