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Physics Toy Store

for @physicsfun Instagram followers

"Where did you get all these things?" This question is often asked in the comments of my IG posts. My goal is to share the real magic of science and physics and to this end I will update this page with suggestions on where to get some of these toys, kinetic art pieces, and scientific curiosities for yourself. Purchasing items from the links on this page will help support my IG page of science and wonder. Thanks!

The Swinging Sticks: Special 10% Discount Offer! Click the link in Side Bar for details------->



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

Visit the Exploratorium

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



The Chembongo

The Chembongo: expertly crafted from African Blackwood this device prefers to only spin clockwise! If spun counter clockwise, a complicated combination of friction, precession, and instability induced vibrations transforms the rotational energy into into rattling (energy of oscillations) and then into rotational energy in the opposite direction! This behavior is related to the asymmetric shape of the bottom of this kind of rattleback, it's somewhat propeller shaped with an "S" curve along the bottom ridge. 🌟 Thanks to artist Jack Mankiewicz for this beautiful addition to my collection. ➡️ Follow the link in my @physicsfun profile for info on where to get a rattleback and learn more about its physics. #chembongo #rattleback #celt #physics #physicstoy #rotation #instability #kineticenergy #torque #friction #angularmomentum #precession #science #scienceisawesome #kineticart

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Produced in limited supplies by artist Jack Mankiewicz. See more of his work at Chembongo.com

From Amazon: BUY NOW Chembongo

Learn more about rattlebacks and their physics in the videos and links below.


Acrylic Rattleback

Acrylic Rattleback: prefers to spin counter clockwise. If spun clockwise, a complicated combination of friction, precession, and instability induced vibrations transforms the rotational energy into into rattling (energy of oscillations) and then into rotational energy in the opposite direction! This behavior is related to the asymmetric shape of the bottom of this kind of rattleback, it's somewhat propeller shaped with an "S" curve along the bottom ridge. ➡️ Follow the link in my @physicsfun profile for info on where to get a rattleback and learn more about its physics. #rattleback #celt #physics #physicstoy #rotation #instability #kineticenergy #torque #friction #angularmomentum #precession #science #scienceisawesome #kineticart

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These acrylic versions work great and are inexpensive:


From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Rattlebacks


From Amazon: BUY NOW Rattlebacks

For further details on the curious physics and behavior this amazing physics toy, please see my short blog post on the rattleback.



Colored Ferrofluids

Colored Ferrofluid Display Cells: spectacular metallic blue, gold, and black display cells by @czferro - colloidal ferromagnetic liquids in a specially prepared water-alcohol suspension. Curious behavior results from the interplay between magnetic force and surface tension. The gold and blue coloring appears to be from a thin coating at the boundary between the ferrofluid and the suspension liquid. Still exploring the details of the coloring and the specific makeup of the clear suspension fluid - both trade secrets it seems. 🌟Special thanks to @czferro of Concept Zero design studio for these beautiful displays! ➡️ Follow the link in my @physicsfun profile for info on where to get these and other amazing ferrofluid displays. #ferrofluid #fluiddynamics #magnets #magneticfield #magnetism #colloidal #physics #physicstoy #science #surfacetension #neodymium #conceptzero #goldferrofluid #scienceisawesome #electromagnetism

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See the amazing collection of ferrofluid displays and art at the Concept Zero webpage
Also available on Etsy: BUY NOW Concept Zero Ferrofluid Displays



Fluorescence and Birefringence in Calcite

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. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #calcite #rockhound #birefringence #polarization #polarizer #electromagnetism #physics #physicstoy #optics #refraction #indexofrefraction #geophysics #geophysicstoy #mineralogy #icelandspar #beamsplitter #rhomboid #rhomboidal #science #fluorescence #UV #laserpointer #science #scienceisawesome

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See the next video below for links on where to buy calcite crystals.

Need a UV laser pointer? Get 3 lasers (one of each color) for under $10 (including S&H):

From eBay: BUY NOW Red+Green+Violet(UV) Laser Pointer



Birefringence in Calcite

Birefringence in Calcite: the speed of light in a calcite crystal depends on polarization- the refractive index is different depending on the polarization orientation of the light transmitted through it. 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. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile to find where to buy this and many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #calcite #rockhound #birefringence #polarization #polarizer #electromagnetism #physics #physicstoy #optics #refraction #indexofrefraction #geophysics #geology #mineralogy #icelandspar #beamsplitter #rhomboid #rhomboidal #science #geophysicstoy #scienceisawesome

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Get a sample here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Optical Calcite Crystal
From eBay: BUY NOW Optical Calcite Crystal

Get inexpensive polarizing filters here:


From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Polarizing Filter Sheets


MaBoRun Mini II

Get one here!

From Amazon: BUY NOW Marble Runs


The spiral form of a lever: Wikipedia on Archimedes' Screw and the modern application in Auger Conveyors



MaBoRun Mini

Get one here!

From Amazon: BUY NOW Marble Runs



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


Visit the Exploratorium



Spiral Kinetic Art

I bought this item at the Exploratorium Museum store many years ago. Here are some similar items:


From Amazon: BUY NOW Spiral Wind Spinners
See next post for more amazing kinetic wind spinners...



Wind Spinner

Get one here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Wind Spinners



Phosphorescence and Excitation Frequency:

Phosphorescence and Frequency: two phosphors (green and orange) with different excitation energies. The green phosphor excites only with higher frequency violet light, the europium doped orange phosphor will excite with green or violet. Some especially amazing physics: notice that the green phosphor that is partially glowing from the violet laser can be re-excited by the lower frequency green laser if its phosphor molecules have not yet fallen back into their ground states. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for information on where to get these supplies and many other items featured here on @physicsfun #laser #violetlaser #greenlaser #phosphor #physicstoy #physics #science #phosphorescence #glow #quantum #quantummechanics #blacklight #excitation #science #scienceisawesome

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The green phosphorescence shown here is "GS phosphor" Zinc sulfide with a copper activator and is the most common phosphor used in glow-in-the-dark toys. Educational Innovations sells sheets with GS Phosphor- write temporary messages that fade using a UV pen or 405 nm laser pointer:


From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Phosphorescent Vinyl Sheets


Need a laser pointer? Incredibly, you can get 3 (one of each color) for under $10 (including S&H):

From eBay: BUY NOW Red+Green+Violet(UV) Laser Pointer

The disk with orange phosphor is demonstrated and described in the post below.



Europium Doped Strontium Salt Phosphor

These disks are sold as "laser targets" on eBay

From eBay: BUY NOW Green Laser Target


Tornado Spheres

Tornado Spheres: two ball bearings welded together can be made to spin up to 2000+ rpm by the Magnus Effect using a stream of air. Shining three colored LEDs on the spinning pair produces an illusion of floating rings along with a second illusion that these rings are rotating and changing direction due to aliasing with the frame rate of the video camera (like the famous wagon-wheel effect). ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to buy this and many other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #spin #rpm #tornadospheres #hurricaneballs #angularmomentum #physics #physicstoy #magnus #magnuseffect #torque #rotation #rotationalinertia #amazing #concavemirror #science #aliasing #wagonwheeleffect #scienceisawesome

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Get a set here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Spinning Tornado Spheres



CineSpinner Pencil Topper

Get one here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Animated Pencil Topper



The Lollipopter

Four styles to choose from:


From Amazon: BUY NOW Lollipopter Kinetic Art



Rolling Pendulum Acrobat

Rolling Pendulum Acrobat: vintage "Action and Motion" kinetic sculpture manufactured in 1978 by Otagiri. The center of mass of the stick figure is very close to the horizontal bar (axis of rotation) so the figure rotates with minimal resistance. The parallel bars are slightly concave so the rotation slows down as it climbs and then reverses to roll back towards the center- transfer of potential energy to kinetic energy and back again to potential. The process repeats until friction dissipates the kinetic energy and the system comes to rest. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get sculptures like this one and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #balancetoy #physics #physicstoy #rollingpendulum #desktop #actionandmotion #otagiri #equilibrium #centerofmass #kineticart #kineticsculpture #science #throwback #1978 #stickfigure

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Action and Motion series by Otagiri circa 1978: Acrobat with original box

Kinetic Art by Otagiri can often be found on eBay. Vintage from the 1970s, these sculptures utilize the physics of low center of mass (and associated stable equilibria), pendulum motion, and angular momentum.

From eBay: BUY NOW Otagiri Kinetic Art

Kyle's Kinetics offers state of the art stainless steel kinetic art on Etsy: Kyle's Kinetics
Check out an example of his recent work in the video below:



Balance & Poise

Balance & Poise: low center of mass kinetic art sculpture featuring a graceful girl in a yoga pose- a perfect physics toy graduation gift for my daughter! This delightful creation by Kyle Auga @kyleskinetics has the curious motion of a 3D physical pendulum- a complex motion which can be broken down into oscillations along two dimensions and rotation about the point of contact. Crafted from stainless steel, the stick figure plus counterweights and bar structure is designed such that its center of mass is few centimeters below the contact point when at rest. When the sculpture is tipped the center of mass swings under the pivot point in this stable equilibrium condition- no magnets needed to create this physics magic. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get kinetic art like this and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #kineticart #centerofmass #lowcenterofmass #balancetoy #physicstoy #physicsart #physics #stableequilibrium #equilibrium #oscillations #physicalpendulum #pendulum #torque #restoringforce #desktoy #science #scienceisawesome #newtonssecondlaw #centerofgravity

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Kyle Auga creates incredible kinetic sculptures- all of them use physics to showcase the unexpected nature of nature.

Check out Kyle's art on Etsy:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Kyle's Kinetics



Digital Sundial

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



Simple Polariscope

Simple Polariscope: polarized light colorfully reveals the internal stresses imposed on polymer material such as this piece of acrylic, a technique used to model stress distribution patterns in engineering. The polymer sample is placed between two linear polarizer filters configured with their polarization axes at 90 degrees to each other. Many forms of polymer material develop birefringence through photoelasticity when they are compressed or stretched. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on were to get this and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #stresspolarimetry #polarimetry #physics #physicstoy #polaroid #polariscope #polarizer #polarizingfilter #electromagnetism #science #birefringence #photoelasticity #photoelastic #scienceisawesome

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Get this set here:



From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Polarizing Filter Demo Kit



Levitron Revolution Platform

Levitron Revolution: exquisitely engineered control system uses an adjustable electromagnet and and a Hall effect sensor to levitate an 8cm diameter neodymium magnet platform 5 cm in mid-air. The feedback loop allows fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity. The platform also rotates, perfect for a "floating rings" illusion sculpture. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for more info and about where to get this and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #equilibrium #neodymium #levitron #levitronrevolution #magnetic #magneticfield #halleffect #feedbackloop #controlsystem #physics #physicstoy #electricalengineering #electromagnetism #electromagnet #floatingrings #halleffectprobe #science #levitation #scienceisawesome #maglev

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Get one here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Levitation Platform



Poly-acrylamide Polymer Vanishing Act

Poly-acrylamide Polymer Vanishing Act: these spheres of hydrophilic polymer have an almost identical index of refraction as that of water- thus when submersed they become invisible. Note the elasticity of these spheres from the way they bounce, while at the same time they refract their surroundings as a spherical lens. The super absorbent spheres start as 1.5mm hard crystals and grow to 10mm when immersed in water for an hour or so. So much physics! ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get these and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #indexofrefraction #refraction #physics #physicstoy #hydrophilic #watergel #watergelcrystals #polyacrylamide #optics #invisible #invisibility #science #scienceisawesome

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Get some of these grow-spheres here:


From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Growing Spheres



Glass Hydro-Top Dreidel

Available in four colors and designs:

From Ancient Ties: Glass-Water Dreidels/Tops



The ΦTop - Golden Version

The ΦTop - Golden Version: spinning things have surprising physics! This unique top is made of solid brass in the shape of a prolate elIipsoid- and the name of the top is derived from the following design requirement: the ratio of the semi minor (short) axis to the semi major (long) axis is made equal to the mathematical constant the golden ratio φ (phi). Invented by astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, this top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. The concave mirror keeps the top from wandering off and the glass surface has minimal friction allowing the top to spin for a long time- this video shows various stages of 8 minutes of total spin time. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this top and many other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #ellipsoid #oblateellipsoid #conicsections #tippetop #torque #angularmomentum #rotationalinertia #physics #physicstoy #flip #flipover #precession #spin #spinning #top #spinningtop #science #scienceisawesome

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This version of the ΦTop is made of solid brass and has a mass more than three times that of the aluminium version (see photo below), the difference in weight is substantial and obvious when handling these tops. The brass version will spin much longer due to its larger inertia.


Professor Brecher has a limited supply of these "golden" (brass) versions of this top available on Etsy

From Etsy: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Brass

See the video below for the aluminum version.


PhiTOP

The PhiTop: spinning things often have surprising physics! This unique top is made of solid aluminum in the shape of a prolate elIipsoid- and the name of the top is derived from the following design requirement: the ratio of the semi minor (short) axis to the semi major (long) axis is made equal to the mathematical constant the golden ratio φ (phi). Invented by astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, this top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippy-top. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #ellipsoid #oblateellipsoid #conicsections #tippetop #torque #angularmomentum #rotationalinertia #physics #physicstoy #flip #flipover #precession #spin #spinning #top #spinningtop #science #scienceisawesome

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Get one here!



From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW PhiTOP
From Amazon: BUY NOW PhiTOP


Mini Double Pendulum

Mini Double Pendulum: the intricate dance of chaotic motion from a simple assembly of two physical pendulums (one attached to the end of the other) with the energy of the system moving frenetically back and forth between the potential energy of gravity to the kinetic energy of motion. Chaotic motion (shown here in 240 fps slow motion) 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 latest double pendulum in my collection of chaotic physics toys. Made by Doug Cvelbar, owner of minicastings.com. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physicstoy #chaos #chaoticmotion #chaostheory #kineticart #pendulum #doublependulum #physicalpendulum #strangeattractor #science #scienceisawesome

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These machine crafted metal works of art by Doug Cvelbar are currently available on eBay:

From eBay: BUY NOW Double Pendulum Desk Toy



Star Wars Mag-Lev

These Star Wars kids meal toys from the 1990s are available on eBay- lots of listings actually.
Cloud city:

From eBay: BUY NOW Levitating Cloud City
Royal Starship:

From eBay: BUY NOW Levitating Starship



Chaotic Coupled Rotors

Currently two of these available on eBay:

From eBay: BUY NOW Magnetron Chaotic Desk Toy



Glow-in-the-Dark Tippe-Top

Get this top here:

From eBay: BUY NOW Glow-in-the-Dark Filp Top

Educational Innovations has reasonably priced wood tippe-tops in their shop:


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



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


Moiré Motion Card

Many designs to choose from:


From Amazon: BUY NOW SmartMove Animated Cards



CineSpinner

Available in many animations:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Cine Spinner



Magic Sun Stone

Magic Sun Stone: gem quality iolite shows very strong pleochroism- its color depends on the polarization of light as it is transmitted through the crystal. The color of this rough iolite gemstone changes dramatically from clear to opaque purple as the orientation of a linear polarizing filter is rotated through 90 degrees. Also known as a "Viking sky compass" since it can detect the polarization of sunlight in the sky and thereby locate the sun for navigation even on cloudy days or when the sun is below the horizon- useful for this time of year far north. ➡️ Follow the link in my @physicsfun profile for more information and where to buy a "magic sun stone" and some polarizing filters. #pleochroism #dichroism #cordierite #iolite #physics #physicstoy #optics #polarizer #navigation #rockhound #geology #geophysics #geophysicstoy #viking #sun #sunstone #dichroic #gem #gemstone #amazing #solstice #compass #sky #science #scienceisawesome

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Iolite is fairly inexpensive as a rough gemstone (like the one in the video), or as a small cabochon or loose gemstone.

From eBay: BUY NOW iolite rough gemstone
From eBay: BUY NOW iolite loose gemstone
Cabochons, iolite beads, and inexpensive iolite jewelry- all items that will show this effect, can also be found on Amazon

from Amazon: BUY NOW Iolite jewlrey and gemstones

You will need some polarizing sheet (or a polarizing filter for a camera): Get some here


From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Polarizing Film

Elise A. Skalwold has this wonderful page on the history and science of iolite and its use as a "magic sun stone" by Viking navigators: Iolite: the "Viking Compass"

Some have inquired about the display stand. It's called a caliper stand, and the one in the video is the extra small version.

From eBay: BUY NOW Brass Caliper Display



Wild Eyes Holographic Glasses (part II)

Far Field Hologram Glasses (part II): holographic glasses can also be used to project an image using the beam of a laser- the exact same technology used to make the "projection caps" on inexpensive laser pointers. The "lenses" in these glasses are actually transmission holograms, but with the image at maximum depth of field so that the image forms around all point sources of light (such as the Maglite flashlight bulb). Made by American Paper Optics LLC, many other images are available, but the sharks are my favorite. ➡️ Follow the link in my @physicsfun profile to get a pair of these glasses- also comes in T-Rex, Dolphin, Bat, Crocodile, and 7 other animals. #holidayspecs #holospex #wildeyes #holospecs #transmissionhologram #hologram #holographic #shark #physics #physicstoy #diffraction #constructiveinterference #science #virtualimage #encoding #scienceisawesome

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Made by American Paper Optics Inc. all versions of these holographic glasses can be found here:

from Amazon: BUY NOW Wild Eyes 3D Glasses

Here is an excellent description of the physics and principles of operation of these far-field holograms by the manufacturer HoloSpex, Inc. Interestingly, this is the same physics used to make the laser projection caps (see next video below).

Need a laser pointer? Incredibly, you can get 3 (one of each color) for under $10 (including S&H):

From eBay: BUY NOW Red+Green+Purple Laser Pointer



Wild Eyes Holographic Glasses (part I)

Wild Eyes Holographic Glasses: put on these goggles and on top of every point-source of light will appear an animated holographic image of sharks swimming. (Here I used a Maglite flashlight with the cap removed.) The "lenses" in these glasses are actually transmission holograms but with the image located at the farthest point in the depth of field. In this version there are three holographic images in a trifocal glasses arrangement- tilting one's head brings the animation to life! Made by American Paper Optics LLC, many other images are available and look even more amazing in person as it is hard to capture the experience with a camera. ➡️ Follow the link in my @physicsfun profile to get a pair of these googles- also comes in T-Rex, Dolphin, Bat, Crocodile, and 7 other animals. #holidayspecs #holospex #wildeyes #holospecs #transmissionhologram #hologram #holographic #shark #physics #physicstoy #diffraction #constructiveinterference #science #virtualimage #encoding #scienceisawesome

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Made by American Paper Optics Inc. all versions of these holographic glasses can be found here:

from Amazon: BUY NOW Wild Eyes 3D Glasses

Here is an excellent description of the physics and principles of operation of these far-field holograms by the manufacturer HoloSpex, Inc. Interestingly, this is the same physics used to make the laser projection caps (see next video below).

Need a laser pointer? Incredibly, you can get 3 (one of each color) for under $10 (including S&H):

From eBay: BUY NOW Red+Green+Purple Laser Pointer

Magnetic Suspension Pencil Topper

Made by HogWild Toys

From Amazon: BUY NOW Skydiving Pencil Topper
From HogWild Toys and Gifts: BUY NOW Skydiving Pencil Topper


Bismuth Diamagnetic Levitation

Bismuth Diamagnetic Trap Levitation: neodymium cube magnet trapped between two pieces of strongly diamagnetic bismuth crystal. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the cube shaped magnet supplies the field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though so two large ceramic magnets are placed on each side and adjusted to help lift the cube magnet against gravity. Trapped in equilibrium by these magnetic fields, the slightest air currents can send the cube magnet dancing. Another amazing creation by Ernie McElhannon. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get a device like this one and many of the items featured here on @physicsfun #diamagnetism #physics #physicstoy #neodymium #magneticfield #magnetism #levitation #maglev #science #pyrolyticgraphite #scienceisawesome @element83onetsy

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See more of Ernie's amazing creations here in his Etsy shop Element83

Special for @physicsfun followers! Save 15% with discount code: PHYSICSFUN
From Etsy: Magnetic Levitation Sculptures


Bismuth Crystal Pendent

See more of Ernie's amazing creations here in his Etsy shop Element83

Special for @physicsfun followers! Save 15% with discount code: PHYSICSFUN
From Etsy: Bismuth Jewelry


SPINPAL DP with Phosphorescent Screen

SPINPAL DP with Phosphor Screen: chaotic motion from a simple assembly of two physical pendulums (one attached to the end of the other) with the energy of the system moving frenetically back and forth between the potential energy of gravity to the kinetic energy of motion. A UV diode traces the intricate path of the pendulum on a phosphorescent screen. The chaotic motion 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. This double pendulum is now available on Kickstarter- another quality physics toy from the SPINPAL line, where bearings are used at the pivot points to minimize fiction so that the energy takes many minutes to dissipate. Thanks to @spinpal.fidget for sending me this great double pendulum! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get get this and many of the items featured on @physicsfun #physicstoy #chaos #chaoticmotion #chaostheory #kineticart #pendulum #doublependulum #spinpal #spinpalDP #physicalpendulum #strangeattractor #science #scienceisawesome

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Get a Double Pendulum Desktop Physics Toy here:

From Kickstarter: ORDER NOW SPINPAL DP

Also: see next video for more of the DP in action!


SPINPAL DP

SPINPAL DP Double Pendulum: chaotic motion from a simple assembly of two physical pendulums (one attached to the end of the other) with the energy of the system moving frenetically back and forth between the potential energy of gravity to the kinetic energy of motion. Chaotic motion is characterized by extreme sensitivity to initial starting conditions, tiny differences in how the system is released leads to dramatically different outcomes each time. This double pendulum is now available on Kickstarter- another quality physics toy from the SPINPAL line, where bearings are used at the pivot points to minimize fiction so that the energy takes many minutes to dissipate. Thanks to @spinpal.fidget for sending me this great double pendulum! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get get this and many of the items featured on @physicsfun #physicstoy #chaos #chaoticmotion #chaostheory #kineticart #pendulum #doublependulum #spinpal #spinpalDP #physicalpendulum #strangeattractor #science #scienceisawesome

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Get a Double Pendulum Desktop Physics Toy here:

From Kickstarter: ORDER NOW SPINPAL DP



Computational Caustics Image Projection

Computational Caustic Projection: an image is formed by refraction through a free form lens in a new process that utilizes the physics behind how light is concentrated into caustics. This molded acrylic has slight but precisely constructed surface of curves that when lighted by a broadband light source (Maglite flashlight bulb) projects an image of a lion onto a plane. This is not a hologram, but instead a new proprietary light redirection technology by the company RAYFORM. 🌟 Special thanks to RAYFORM technologies for sending me this sample. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for more info and where to find many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicstoy #physicsfun #optics #rayform #lens #caustics #refraction #lightrays #kineticart #computationcaustics #rayformtechnologies #science #scienceisawesome

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RAYFORM is a start up company developing this new technology based on the physics of caustics formation described here: RAYFORM technologies



Acasta Gneiss: Earth's Oldest Rock

Acasta Gneiss: this polished sphere is a sample of the oldest known rock on Earth- dated at 4.03 billion years old based on multiple radiometric dating techniques. This rock is only found in the Northwest Territories of Canada and was collected by Yellowknife resident Mark Brown. Happy Earth Day 2017- especially to all those who marched for science yesterday! ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on how to obtain a chunk of the oldest piece of Earth for yourself (and many other science curiosities) as featured here on @physicsfun #earthday #happyearthday #earthday2017 #radiodating #radioisotopedating #acasta #gneiss #physics #physicstoy #geophysics #geophysicstoy #mineral #oldestrock #acastariver #amazing #deeptime #science #scienceisawesome

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Mark Brown sells really nice specimens of Acasta Gneiss: polished spheres, rough samples, and even jewelry, made from the rock he collected himself.

From Rock of Ages: Acasta Gneiss

Recently (just this year) samples and specimens of Acasta Gneiss are now available on eBay, many at reasonable prices: Own a piece of the oldest known Earth rock today!

From eBay: Acasta Gneiss

Wikipedia has the details: Acasta Gneiss



Coins of Constant Width

Coins of Constant Width: the only coins produced in the shape of the Reuleaux triangle, issued in 1997 and 1998 by Bermuda. The special convex shape of the Reuleaux triangle will roll, because like a circle they have the same diameter from one side to the other, no matter their orientation. To demonstrate this property note here how two straightedge rulers remain parallel as the coins rotate between them, just as one would expect circles to behave! Bermuda triangle (ha!) coins were only produced for two years and featured Elizabeth II on the front and shipwrecks on the back- this one depicts the wreck of the Sea Venture. ➡️ Follow the link on my profile for info on where to get these and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #maths #mathsgear #math #mathtoy #mathstoy #coolmath #Bermuda #trianglecoin #BermudaDollarCoin #shapeofconstantwidth #reuleaux #reuleauxtriangle #physics #physicstoy #geometry #orbiform #convex #polygon #wankleengine #science #scienceisawesome

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I found these two coins on eBay for under $15 (mine are not silver proof though!):

From eBay: BUY NOW Bermuda Triangular Coins

Maths Gear offers this amazing set of shapes of constant width:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Shapes of Constant Width


Drip Chamber at the Exploratorium

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


Visit the Exploratorium



Caustic Projections

Caustic Projections: the intricate geometries of light due to refraction through various curved surfaces of transparent plastic. A 520 nm green laser pointer is refracted trough a sample optical element with surface features of triangle and square pyramids and convex lens elements- made to exhibit examples for lighting applications. When light rays refract through a curved surface they concentrate into bright patches called caustics, often with cusp singularities (sharp points) and intricate threads of shadow. ➡ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicstoy #optics #opticalelements #caustics #laser #laserpointer #refraction #lightrays #science #scienceisawesome

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Get this sample element here:

From materialsampleshop.com: 3D-Printed Optics Sample

Green laser pointers available for under $20:

From eBay: BUY NOW green laser pointer


Wikipedia has a nice discussion of the optical phenomena of caustics.



Ulexite "TV Rock"

Samples of all sizes are available at reasonable prices. The "TV rock" effect looks even more amazing in person.

From eBay: BUY NOW TV Rock


From Amazon: BUY NOW TV Rock

If you ever find yourself driving on Highway 58 outside of Mojave in California, stop and take the tour of the largest open-pit mine in our state, just off the road and the museum is interesting: Rio Tinto Borax Mine


Electrostorm Tower Lamp

Electrostorm Tower Lamp: low pressure noble gasses glow due to discharge from high voltage. A small high frequency coil at center creates the high voltage potential between the center electrode and the outer glass casing which is coated with a thin transparent film of metal. Current flow through the thin gas produces the glowing zigzagged path like that of lightning but more rounded. Shown here in 480 fps slow motion (close up part of video). Another of my vintage plasma lamps in my collection. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get plasma lamps and many other items featured on @physicsfun #plasma #plasmaball #plasmaglobe #physics #physicstoy #emissionspectra #electromagnetism #glow #glowdischarge #lightbulb #lightning #highvoltage #science #scienceisawesome

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This vintage plasma lamp (and others like it) can often be found on eBay:

From eBay: BUY NOW Lightning Plasma Lamps


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 many more of the 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.


Diffraction Grating Suncatcher

designed and produced by Rainbow Symphony. Get one here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Suncatcher Rainbow


Thermochromic Constellation Mug



From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Thermochromic Star Mug
From Amazon: BUY NOW Thermochromic Star Mug

Also a dinosaur version:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Thermochromic Dino Mug



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


Superposition of Spins

Superposition of Spins: an interesting top from Japan that spins around two axes simultaneously. Note the fourfold symmetric pattern made by the graphics- one spin frequency is 4 times faster than the other. 240fps slow motion reveals how the two spins collude to position the heart images. Without slow-mo the rate of rotation is faster than the flicker fusion frequency so that we see four differently colored hearts connected in a circle (looks better in person- the video frame rate somewhat spoils the illusion). ➡ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #spin #physics #physicstoy #spinningtop #toytop #flickerfusionfrequency #superposition #grandillusionsltd #rotation #rpm #frequency #centerofmass #amazing #science #scienceisawesome

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Get this top here:

From Grand Illusions Ltd.: Japanese Top


Ghost of Einstein

This illusion toy comes from Taiwan and is produced by the Mr. Sci Science Toy Factory


From Mr. Sci Science Toy Factory: Einstein Illusion



Reverspective

Get this 3-D print (and a few other designs) here:

From Off The Wall Prints: Reverspective Venice

This Wikipedia article on artist Patrick Hughes has a short discussion of his use of reverspectic.
Vision researcher Thomas Papathomas describes the physics and psychophysics of this and other similar art-forms in a 2006 paper.


Circularly Polarized Reflecting Scarab

Circularly Polarized Reflecting Scarab: the iridescent jewel scarabs like this one (Chrysina Gloriosa) have a very rare property: they reflect only circularly polarized light! When viewed through a filter that allows only left CP light the metallic greens and gold colors of the beetle are clearly visible, but if viewed through a right CP filter hardly any light gets through and the beetle looks dark brown. Circularly polarized light is similar to linearly polarized light except the direction of the electric field rotates around the direction of motion such that there is a left handed version (clockwise) and a right handed version. When left handed CP light reflects off a mirror it becomes right handed and vice versa- as seen here with this beetle's reflection. My CP light filters came from a pair of RealD 3D movie glasses. Nobel Laureate Albert Michelson was the first to discover that jewel scarabs preferentially reflect left CP light back in 1911. Thanks to Ken Brecher for bringing this incredible natural phenomena to my attention. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for more info about the physics of CP light and where to get many of the amazing items (including metallic beetles) featured here on @physicsfun #polarizer #polarizedlight #circularpolarizer #circularpolarization #scarab #scarabbeetle #iridescent #iridescence #science #jewelscarab #scienceisawesome

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Specimens of this beetle are available on eBay:

From eBay: BUY NOW CP reflecting Jewel Scarab

It was only recently discovered (2010) that Chrysina gloriosa and other jewel scarab beetles can actually see circularly polarized light! The metallic appearance of these beetles is a form of structural coloration involving interference.


Wikipedia has a great introduction to Circularly Polarized Light


Balance Drinking Vessel

Balance Drinking Vessel: physics meets design in this stainless steel cup- when empty the cup tilts to one side, but when full it stands straight. The walls of this spherical vessel are hollow, asymmetric, and weighted, designed with the center of mass displaced from the symmetry axis such that the empty cup rests in stable equilibrium at a 23 degree tilt. The addition of mass (pouring a drink) within the offset interior of the cup places the center of mass (cup + contents) onto the symmetry axis allowing an upright stable equilibrium. Designed by Katja Hoeltermann for Carl Mertens design of Solingen Germany. ➡️ Following the link in my profile for more info and where to buy this vessel and many other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicstoy #centerofmass #balance #balancetoy #CarlMertens #equilibrium #stableequilibrium #symmetry #symmetryaxis #science #scienceisawesome

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Get a set here:


From Amazon: BUY NOW Balance Cups


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!

Visit the Exploratorium



MagneView Film

Magneview Flim: making the invisible visible. Microscopic cavities in this green film are filled with oil and tiny flakes of Nickel metal- like compass needles, the flakes align with the magnetic fields revealing the complexity of the poles and domains of these magnets. Two of the disk magnets have multiple north and south poles and look like gears with teeth- these are rotors from small motors. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get Magneview film and many other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #magnetism #magnaview #magneview #magneviewfilm #physics #physicstoy #science #magnets #Bfield #electromagnetism #magneticdomains #magneticfield #nickel #ferromagnet #neodymium #science #scienceisawesome

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Available from


From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Viewing Film
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Viewing Film




Click here for more:
Physics Toys,

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