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Physics Toy Store 01



The Levitron

The Levitron: spin stabilized magnetic levitation- will fly for about 3 minutes or more per launch. The spin rate of the magnetic top must be just right for flight, not too fast or too slow. Also the weight of the top must be adjusted to within 1 gram to achieve equilibrium between the pull of gravity and the magnetic repulsion from the large donut shaped magnet in the wood base. Probably my favorite physics toy of all time. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for information on where to get a Levitron and many of the other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun. #physics #physicstoy #levitron #magnet #magneticfield #magnetism #Earnshawstheorem #equilibrium #gravity #angularmomentum #precession #amazing #science #levitation #maglev #scienceisawesome #stableequilibrium #neodymium #neodymiummagnet

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These are out of production and getting harder to find. Some models are still available here:


From Amazon: Levitron Top


From eBay: Levitron Top

See my blog post for more about the physics of the Levitron Top



Star Wars Specular Hologram on Vinyl
Star Wars Specular Hologram on Vinyl: the two LP soundtrack from The Force Awakens features two amazing "scratch holograms" of a Tie fighter and the Millennium Falcon- the video barely captures the fullness of the 3D effect, in person 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. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this vinyl LP and many of the curiosities featured here on @physicsfun #hologram #holographic #physics #physicstoy #specularhologram #abrasionhologram #scratchhogram #Starwars #theforceawakens #TristanDuke #vinyl #albumart #stereoscopic #chatoyance #science #scienceisawesome
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Get the soundtrack by John Williams (which comes with two wonderful examples of Tristan Duke's holography artwork) here:

From Amazon: The Force Awakens Soundtrack + Holograms

See the next video for another amazing work by Mr. Duke...


Specular Hologram
Specular Hologram on Vinyl: the album Lazaretto by Jack White features this amazing "scratch hologram" of a twirling angel (shown here accompanied by the opening bars from the title track of the album). The hologram was hand etched on the metal master 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. This album has a lot of other interesting features including dual grooves that allows for two different intros to one track (depending on where the needled is dropped) and side A plays from the inside out- fun! ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this vinyl LP and many of the curiosities featured here on @physicsfun #hologram #holographic #physics #physicstoy #specularhologram #abrasionhologram #scratchhogram #JackWhite #Lazeretto #TristanDuke #vinyl #albumart #stereoscopic #chatoyance #science #scienceisawesome
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For the price of a vinyl LP you can own the amazing artwork of Tristan Duke. This album by Jack White is damn good as well (I also got the digital download with the vinyl purchase).


From Amazon: Jack White Lazaretto (Vinyl)



Mega Tippy-Top


Here is the megatippy-top compared to typical tippy-tops on the market and a US quarter dollar:


Nice wood versions of the Tippy-top are available here:


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

The Tippy-Top


This Aluminum tippy-top is available from this reliable source:
From Gyroscope.com: BUY NOW Aluminium Tippy-Top

From Amazon: BUY NOW Tippy-Tops

This toy has a rich history in physics- see my blog post for the best explanation of the physics behind this amazing top.


Beat Interference Chimes

Get one here:


From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Beat Interference Chimes

Wikipedia: Nice introduction and graphics explaining the physics of this beat interference phenomena.


Iron Filings in Silicone Oil Suspension

Iron Filings in Silicone Oil Suspension: visualizing the invisible- the magnetic field lines around a dipole bar 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. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to obtain this and many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #magnetic #magnetism #magneticfield #physicstoy #dipole #dipolefield #demonstration #silicone #physicsdemo #horseshoemagnet #electromagnetism #science #scienceisawesome

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Explore everyday magnetic fields with this affordable demonstration set:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Filed Viewer


Trihexaflexagon

This version came from the Gathering for Gardner as this Trihexaflexagon .pdf file, complete with instructions and ready to print (free!). Other versions available here.

These amazing constructions were brought to the the attention of the world by author Martin Gardner. His books are filled with other fun puzzles and math. Recommended!

From Amazon: BUY NOW Puzzle/Math books by Martin Gardner


Three Polarizing Sheets

Three Polarizing Sheets: quantum mechanical behavior with light polarization. Two linear polarizing sheets oriented at 90 degrees blocks all light- if a third sheet is placed in between, at 45 degrees, an eighth of the original light then gets through! A classic example of the quantum mechanical phenomenon of superposition of states as it pertains to the polarization orientation of photons and probability of transmission. ➡️ Click on the link in my @physicsfun profile to learn more and for a good source to obtain inexpensive polarization film. #polarization #light #physics #physicstoy #polarizingfilter #quantum #quantummechanics #photons #3polarizerparadox #polarizedlight #electromagnetic #electromagneticwaves #science #electromagnetism #scienceisawesome

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Get some polarizing filter sheets here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Polarizing Sheets

Explore many aspects of polarization with this kit:


From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Polarizing Filter Demo Kit

See this short introduction to linear polarizing filters on Hyperphysics, and many more details on polarization from Wikipedia.


Turbine Color Candle

Get one here:

From MoMA: BUY NOW Girachille Spinning Candle

Other candles that spin using the same physics principle:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Spinning Candles


Moiré Necklace: Kinetic Art Jewelry

By David Derksen Design- four versions to choose from:


From David Derksen Design Webshop: Moiré Necklace



Chaotic Pendulum Kinetic Art

These vintage Otagiri kinetic art pieces can often be found on eBay. An auction current with this post features a dancer themed version:

From eBay: Vintage Otagiri Kinetic Art



Fulgurite Type IV: Lightning Strikes Rock

Type IV Fulgurite: glass formation from when lighting strikes rock. The shiny black texture on the top of this rock (andesite I think) reveals melting where a lighting bolt struck. One of only four ways to produce natural glass- volcanos, earthquakes (pseudotachylite from fault zones), meteor impacts (tektites and impactites), and lightning strikes (fulgurites). This sample was discovered and collected by my geology colleague John Wakabayashi from the top of the 13,000 ft Rodgers Peak in the Yosemite-Ritter Range of California. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get a fulgurite specimen and many other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #rockhound #fulgurite #lighting #physics #physicstoy #geology #geophysics #geophysicstoy #glass #naturalglass #frozenlightning #silica #science #scienceisawesome #pseudotachylite #pseudotachylyte

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This specimen was collected from Rodger's Peak in the Ritter Range of Southern Yosemite CA. Mountain tops are the best place to find this type of fulgurite since they are often struck by lightning.


Wikipedia has a great page on fulgurites and how they form.
See the next video and links for other forms of fulgurites and places to obtain samples.


Fulgurite Frozen Lightning Fused Sand

Affordable specimens from around the world are available:

From Amazon: Fulgurites


From eBay: Fulgurites



Phasing Disks

Phasing Disks: the result of constructive and destructive interference of light waves bouncing in between and through acrylic producing light and dark bands of iridescent colors. This kinetic art object allows for compression of the tiny gap between the disks to dynamically shift the interference patterns. Special thanks to physicsfan @instagougherty for sending me this psychedelic physics gift! Comment below if you think he should Kickstarter his Phasing Disks physics toy. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get many of the physics toys featured here. #Newton #IsaacNewton #NewtonsRings #interference #constructiveinterference #reflection #refraction #light #physics #physicstoy #electromagnetism #lens #optics #science #scienceisawesome

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This kinetic art/physics toy was constructed and sent to me by physicsfan Stefan Gougherty. Thanks for the gift!

The physics of light interference is vary similar to that of Newton's Rings (see next video)


Newton's Rings Apparatus

Newton's Rings: the result of constructive and destructive interference of light waves when a convex lens is put in contact with a flat sheet of glass. This apparatus allows for compression of the two pieces of glass. Note that large pressure increases lead to distortions in the radial symmetry- the ring pattern can be used to check for slight defects when grinding/making lenses. Sir Isaac Newton is credited with formulating the correct equations to describe the spacing and thickness of the concentric lines of light and dark. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get many of the physics toys featured here. #Newton #IsaacNewton #NewtonsRings #interference #constructiveinterference #reflection #refraction #light #physics #physicstoy #electromagnetism #lens #optics #science #scienceisawesome

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Get one here!

From Amazon: BUY NOW Newton's Rings Apparatus



Ooze Timer
Ooze Tube: viscous fluid timer toy. Some interesting physics phenomena are found in this kinetic art novelty item: the "liquid rope-coil effect" where the fluid thread coils and stacks as it lands on the pooling surface, and a curious periodicity in the rate of flow that is related to the formation of non-spherical bubbles as the air and fluid trade places (shown in time-lapse). The physics of the coiling effect is complex (see the link in my blog). Broadly speaking the coiling is due to the bottom of the fluid rope widening at the contact point with the surface, and as it widens the fluid slows down but not evenly. This uneven rate of flow produces a bend and the elasticity of the stream constrains the rope to a limited radius- hence a stack of coils. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this and many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #ropecoil #viscosity #fluiddynamics #fluidmechanics #physics #physicstoy #viscousbuckling #geophysics #helix #helicalcoil #liquidrope #liquidropecoileffect #ooze #oozetube #coileffect #kineticart #science #scienceisawesome
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Available in a variety of colors:

From Amazon: Ooze Timer

The physics of the liquid rope-coil effect is pretty complex. Here is a recent scientific paper on the topic with nice illustrations.

Journal of Fluid Mechanics: Multiple coexisting states of liquid rope coiling


Aerolux Neon Glow Bulb

There are many filament shapes to choose from- and two main types orange glow (neon) and purple glow (argon)
Get one here:

From Amazon: Neon Glow Bulbs

From eBay:Aerolux Bulbs



Moire Season's Greetings

The card was part of a set purchased from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. No longer in print it seems. Here are some drink coasters that use the same effect.

From Amazon: Moire Coasters



Light Guide Animated Tree

Light Guide Animated Tree: an illuminated wine bottle stopper made of three layers of optical acrylic in the shape of a tree. On each layer is a different image of the tree. Two white LEDs switch on and off lighting the first and second layers sequentially back and forth producing the animation effect. Light from an LED attached to a specific layer undergoes multiple internal reflections as it passes through the clear plastic illuminating mostly that layer- the same principle employed in fiber optic cables. Happy Holiday physics! ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get many of the items featured here on @physicsfun #fiberoptics #lightpipe #lightguide #physics #physicstoy #internalreflection #optics #waveguide #science #tree #christmastree #wine #bottlestopper #scienceisawesome #happyholidays

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This tree is made by Wonderlights. A few of their unique flashing animations are available on here:

From eBay: Wonderlights



Holiday Specs:

Available in many designs- Physics for the Holidays!
Snowflake, Santa, Snowmen, Reindeer, Candy Canes, Elves, Penguin, Tree, Jingle Bells, Stars, Happy Holidays and more...

From Amazon: Holiday Specs



Spinning Snowflakes Convection Candle
Many versions of this type of convection candle are available:

From Amazon: Spinning Kinetic Candles

Also on eBay:

From eBay: Spinning Tea Lights



Starfire Sphere
Get one here:

From Amazon: Starfire Sphere
Or here:

From eBay: Starfire Sphere


Drinking Bird Heat Engine
Drinking Bird Heat Engine: time lapse of 15 minutes into 15 seconds (4 cycles). Cooling by evaporation at the head leads to lower pressure in the top bulb, the dichloromethane fluid rises up the neck making the bird top heavy and the bird tips over dipping its beak and letting the fluid return to the bottom bulb. The time lapse allows a clearer picture of how the fluid rises, shifting the center of mass, and how tipping makes the glass column lift out of the fluid in the bottom allowing the pressure to equalize and letting gravity pull the fluid to return to the base. Process repeats as long as the top stays wet. So much physics in one hypnotic toy! ➡️ Follow the link in my profile to buy one of these birds and many other physics toys featured here on @physicsfun #engine #heat #heatengine #thermodynamics #drinkingbird #physics #physicstoy #cycle #timelapse #dippybird #dunkingbird #simpleengine #vaporpressure #latentheat #mechanicalwork #physicsfun #science #scienceisawesome
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Get this famous physics toy from these sources:

From Educational Innovations: Drinking Bird Engine
From Amazon: Drinking Bird Engine

Wikipedia has wonderful details about the rich history (and further descriptions of the operational principals) of the Drinking Bird.


Coin Shrinking MicroBank
These are out of production but still available

From Amazon: MicroBank


From eBay: MicroBank

See the next video for a similar and equally amazing coin bank...


Mirror Illusion Bank:
A version of this coin bank is available here:

From Amazon: Art Bank Illusion


From eBay: Magic Coin Bank and here: Magic Coin Bank



Cylinder Anamorphic Art
Mirror Anamorphosis: this famous print by artist István Orosz has a hidden anamorphic image revealed by placing a mirrored cylinder over the depiction of the moon in the image. The work visualizes a scene from the book “The Mysterious Island” by the science-fiction author Jules Verne- whose portrait emerges in the reflection on the cylinder. The math describing this mapping is quite complex and was described first in a physics journal in 2000. ➡️ To learn more and to find out where to get this poster please follow the link in my @physicsfun profile. #math #mathtoy #anamorphos #art #physics #physicstoy #mirror #cylinder #Orosz #IstvanOrosz #science #anamorphic #anamorphicart #scienceisawesome #anamorphosis #JulesVerne #cylindrical #perspective #mirrorAnamorphosis #mathstoy #geometricprojection
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This image by István Orosz is available as a poster and as a puzzle:

From Amazon:Mysterious Island Puzzle
From MathArtFun.com: Mysterious Island Poster

For those who want to see the math behind this art, here is an initial paper on the topic published in 2000 in the American Journal of Physics: Anamorphic Images by Hunt et al.

Many books are available (with mirror cylinders!)

From Amazon: Books on Anamorphic Art


"Zero Gravity" Air Stream Levitation
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Get one here:

From Amazon: Zero Gravity
From eBay: Zero Gravity


Aerolux Neon Glow Bulb
Get one here: (many filament types to choose from)

From Amazon: Neon Glow Bulbs


Switch Pitch Ball
Switch Pitch Ball: this spherical assembly changes color by turning inside out when tossed into the air. Advertisements for this toy incorrectly claim air drag is involved in the transformation. The ball is made of multiple components hinged together. In launching the ball from the hand an upward acceleration results in a torque that pivots each component around its center of mass, causing the rotation of these components in an organized way leading to the transformation. Imagine tossing a stick straight up. If the stick is perfectly vertical upon launch it will move straight up- but if it is initially slanted at all it will also begin to rotate upon launch. Similar physics underlies the motion of each component of the ball- shown here in 240 fps slow motion. Produced by the makers of the Hoberman Sphere. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this and many other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #kineticart #kineticenergy #torque #physics #physicstoy #angularmomentum #centerofmass #symmetry #HobermanSphere #sphere #switchpitchball #science #scienceisawesome
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Get one here:

From Amazon: Switch Pitch


Diffraction Spectrum Candle
Get one here:

From Amazon: Diffraction Rainbow Candle


New Magic Window
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New new version of this physics toy is available here:

From magicwindows.org: New Magic Window

The vintage versions can almost always be found on eBay (see next video for details).


Magic Window by Wham-O
These vintage items are often available on eBay

From eBay: Magic Window


360° Photopolymer Hologram
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Produced in the 90's these vintage items are available on eBay:

From eBay: Skydisk Hologram


Bimetal Seesaw Engine
Bimetal Seesaw Engine: candle powered heat engine. A coiled bimetal strip, like that found in a thermostat, coils tighter when heated by the flame moving a counterweight that shifts the center of mass to the right and takes the coil out of the flame. The coil then cools returning the counterweight to the left which places the coil back over the flame- and the process repeats until the candle burns out. Any device that converts heat energy into mechanical motion is called a heat engine- like the very simple one here. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this and many other amazing devices featured here on @physicsfun #physicstoy #heat #heatengine #thermodynamics #bimetal #bimetalstrip #thermostat #coefficientofexpansion #candle #candlelight #seesaw #periodicmotion #scirnce #scienceisawesome
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Get one here:

From Ministeam.com: SeeSaw Kit Bimetal Candle


Tea Candle Steam Engine
Available here:

From eBay: Tea Light Steam Engine


Infinity Mirror Tealight Candle
Get one here:

From Amazon: Infinity Tealight Candle


Gallus Lamp
Only available from this web store:

From Galluslight.com: Gallus Lamp Swirl Candle


Heat Pipe
Heat Pipe: a device that transfers heat with great efficiency. Here a liquid crystal goes from green (room temp) to black (near freezing) showing the heat transfer to a piece of ice through a heat pipe (top) and a similar sized piece of solid copper rod (bottom). As you can see the heat pipe cools much faster than the copper rod even though copper is an excellent conductor of heat. The heat pipe is a thin shell of copper that surrounds a tube of sponge like material filled with some water vapor and sealed with a low pressure inside. The heat is transferred from one end to the other by the phase transition of water- at the warm end water in the sponge evaporates into vapor absorbing heat energy, the vapor travels down the hollow core to the cold end where it condenses into liquid releasing heat energy. The water is wicked by the sponge to the warm end and the process repeats. Heat pipes like this one pull heat away from the CPUs in modern computers preventing them from melting. The amazing heat transfer ability is clearly felt in the fingertips if one places the copper rod and heat pipe into a glass of ice water-the heat pipe immediately gets cold! Follow the link in my profile for info on where the buy this heat pipe demo and many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun. #physics #physicstoy #physicsfun #thermodynamics #heat #heatpipe #physicsdemo #liquidcrystal #thermometer #heattransfer #conductivity #phase #phasetransition #latentheat #science #scienceexperiment #scienceisawesome
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Here is the Heat Pipe demonstration kit: comes in a nice box with and includes the heat pipe, the copper rod, and a set of instructions and explanation.


From Educational Innovations: Heat Pipe Demo Kit

...and get the liquid crystal temperature indicator here. For this heat pipe demo you will need the sheet that responds to the temperature transition range of 20-25C:

From Educational Innovations: Liquid Crystal Sheet

Wikipedia has this excellent description of heat pipe construction and operation.



Twin Fan Lissajous
Rave math fun for only $6.95:


From Educational Innovations: Twin Fan LED


How a Slinky Falls
A classic physics toy:

From Amazon: Classic Slinky Spring Toy

This toy was invented in 1943 and has a remarkable history. Wikipedia has the details (and the physics!) of the Slinky.


Buoyancy Discrepant Event
Density sets are available here:


From Educational Innovations: High Density Wood


Diamagnetic Trap Levitation
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Here are some similar diamagnetic traps available:


From eBay: Diamagnetic Levitation

Learn more: Diamagnetic levitation by Martin Simon




Click here for more:
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