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The Museum of Science, Art, and Human Perception

The Exploratorium is one of my favorite places in the world, and this page is dedicated to @physicsfun videos of some of the amazing exhibits on display at the museum. I will try to post one video from the museum each week. Thanks to the Exploratorium and its staff for making these short videos possible. I'm honored to be allowed access to the museum to create this content.
If you visit (or live in) San Francisco, the Explroatorium is a must see: Plan your visit



Water Spinner at the Exploratorium

Water Spinner @exploratorium : The parabolic surface of a contained liquid under the combination of centripetal acceleration and the pull of gravity. Centripetal acceleration increases proportional to the distance from the axis of rotation, so the liquid stacks highest far from the center. Also, a faster spin rate results in a deeper and steeper parabola- note how the surface flattens out as the exhibit comes to rest. Additional physics- symmetric waves (from the sharp initial impulse) travel and reflect along the curved surface for the first few rotations until damped out via viscosity and friction. A future post will highlight this initial wave phenomenon- stay tuned! 🌟 With special thanks to the Exploratorium! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for more info about this exhibit at the Exploratorium- and where to find many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun. #exploratorium #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #centripetalacceleration #angularmomentum #parabola #parabolic #pascalsprinciple #hydrostatics #spinning #kineticart #science #scienceisawesome

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Read more about this exhibit here:

Exploratorium Science Snack: Water Spinner

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For those that want the math!
A youTube tutorial Spinning Water: The Mathematical Explanation



Avalanche at the Exploratorium

Avalanche @exploratorium : Spontaneous stratification from pouring granular mixtures. Typically pouring stuff together results in further mixing, yet here the result is an ordered sorting into layers. The larger rounded dark grains separate from the smaller sharp-edged white grains forming the layers you see here. The darker grains alone would stack into a steeper pile (larger angle of repose) than the white which would form a less steep pile. An amazing physics discovery of the 1990s. 🌟 With special thanks to the Exploratorium! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for more info about the Exploratorium and where to find many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun. #exploratorium #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #granular #stratification #spontaneousstratification #angleofrepose #avalanche #kineticart #science #scienceisawesome

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Make a similar device using CD cases: Step by step instructions in this Exploratorium Science Snack: Avalanche


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Drip Chamber at the Exploratorium

Drip Chamber @exploratorium : viscous and transparent liquid glycerin forms into drips and lumps under gravity. Light rays form caustics (see previous post) that look like animated stars encased in geometric outlines from a bright light shining through from underneath. The star caustics occasionally wink to black as a drop detaches and falls in this kinetic art installation by Charles Sowers. 🌟 With special thanks to the Exploratorium! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for more info about the Exploratorium and where to find many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun. #exploratorium #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #optics #caustics #lightrays #refraction #viscocity #kineticart #science #scienceisawesome

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Another amazing creation by artist Charles Sowers:

See more photos of this installation and other amazing work via the artist's web page: Drip Chamber

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Cloud Chamber at the Exploratorium

Cosmic Rays in Cloud Chamber @exploratorium: Visualizing the invisible- we live in a constant rain of charged subatomic particles that pass through the atmosphere (and our bodies) at relativistic speeds. The fleeting white lines and streaks seen here mark the paths of these cosmic ray particles through amplification via a phase change. The cloud chamber, with refrigeration on the bottom and heater elements on top, creates a 10cm thick region of supersaturated alcohol vapor that is at a temperature below its condensation point. Energetic charged particles produce a trail of ions (atoms with an electron knocked off) and these ions become the center of the drops that form the white trails showing the path of the particles. 🌟 With special thanks to the Exploratorium! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for more info about the Exploratorium and where to find many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #exploratorium #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #cosmicrays #phasechange #cloud #cloudchamber #nucleation #supersaturated #thermodynamics #condensation #science #scienceisawesome

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The Cloud Chamber is one of the longest running exhibits at the Exploratorium, and one of my favorites.


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Icy Bodies at the Exploratorium

Icy Bodies @exploratorium: exquisitely beautiful and dynamic interactions between small chunks of dry ice and a shallow layer of water play out in this exhibit created by artist Shawn Lani at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice) is denser than water, but the small pieces do not sink- instead each piece, at −78.5 °C, becomes encapsulated in a shell of ice that then floats. As the dry ice sublimates from a solid directly into a gas, jets stream from holes and fractures in the ice shells propelling and spinning the bits upon the water's surface. Droplets condense out of the air forming a cloudy mist in the vicinity of the cold gas jets which is lighted from the side to dramatic effect. 🌟 With special thanks to the Exploratorium! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for more info about the Exploratorium and where to find many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #exploratorium #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #sublimation #dryice #thermodynamics #condensation #science #scienceisawesome

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Another amazing creation by artist Shawn Lani-- Icy Bodies has been installed at 13 science museums around the world:

See the Shawn Lani Studios website for more details- and make sure to see the exhibit in person!

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Dancing Drops at the Exploratorium

Dancing Drops @exploratorium: an exhibit employing the CoandΔƒ effect on water droplets -an air stream attaches and wraps around the drops temporarily trapping them. As the air changes direction to flow around a drop, momentum is imparted to it pushing the drop against gravity. Constrained mostly by surface tension, under these conditions the water drops also have irregular and changing shapes leading to erratic motions in the uneven airstream.🌟 With special thanks to the Exploratorium! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for more info about the Exploratorium and where to find many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #exploratorium #coanda #coandaeffect #gravity #newton #newtonssecondlaw #newtonsthirdlaw #actionreaction #equilibrium #netforce #physics #physicstoy #magnuseffect #science #scienceisawesome

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Visit the Exploratorium


Spindrift at the Exploratorium

Spindrift @exploratorium: surprisingly complex and graceful motion arise when rings are set to roll on a parabolic surface in this exhibit created by artist Shawn Lani at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. As the energy of the ring's center of mass trades to and fro from potential to kinetic, odd motions such as flip-flops, figure eights, and quick spins can occur in a determined but chaotic fashion. 🌟 With special thanks to the Exploratorium! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for more info about the Exploratorium and where to find many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #exploratorium #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #rolling #kineticart #kineticenergy #potentialenergy #gravity #chaos #chaoticmotion #energytransfer #science #scienceisawesome

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See more photos and video of this exhibit at the artist's online gallery: Spindrift and other installations by Shawn Lani


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Sand Shaker at the Exploratorium

Sand Shaker @exploratorium: a thin layer of white sand is subjected to vibrations on top of a circular plate in this exhibit created by artist Charles Sowers at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. When granular substances like sand are rapidly shaken, they often take on the properties of fluids through a process called vibrofluidization. Strange non-Newtonian fluid behavior is seen in this sand when the frequency of vibration is adjusted to 16Hz (shown here in 240fps slow motion)- amazing complexity arising from simple and regular motion! 🌟 With special thanks to the Exploratorium! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for more info about the Exploratorium and where to find many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun. #exploratorium #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #vibration #frequency #granular #sand #vibrofluidized #nonnewtonianfluid #fuiddynamics #science #scienceisawesome

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See more photos and video of this amazing exhibit at the artist's online gallery: Sand Shaker by Charles Sowers


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Magnetic Fluid Patterns at the Exploratorium

Magnetic Fluid Patterns @exploratorium: a dark ferromagnetic fluid, trapped in a small gap between two plates of glass, reacts under the influence of a powerful magnetic field in this exhibit at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The intricate and beautiful fluid patterns result from surface tension between the liquids competing with the ferrofluid attempting to align with the field lines of a strong magnet as it is positioned at different distances underneath. 🌟 With special thanks to the Exploratorium! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for more info about the Exploratorium and where to find many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun. #exploratorium #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #ferrofluid #magnet #magneticfield #fuiddynamics #science #scienceisawesome

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Slinky Treadmill at the Exploratorium

Slinky Treadmill @exploratorium: kinetic motion energy transfers to elastic potential energy and then back to kinetic energy in a cycling process as a slinky spring "walks" down an incline. Put the system on a treadmill, such as this one at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and the walking behavior can be explored for many minutes. Note that after a while the slinky's walking becomes erratic. 🌟With special thanks to the Exploratorium! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for more info about the Exploratorium and where to find many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun. #exploratorium #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #slinky #slinkywalk #treadmill #energytransfer #kineticenergy #elastic #hookeslaw #momentum #science #scienceisawesome

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Learn more about the physics of the slinky here: Exploratorium Science Snack
The slinky has been a popular toy since 1945! Read about the history and physics of the slinky, and the naval mechanical engineer that invented it on Wikipedia.
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