Physics Toy Blog

for @physicsfun Instagram followers

I get asked often: "Where did you get all this stuff?" My goal is to share the real magic of science and physics- and to this end I will update here (and in my store) suggestions on where to get some of these toys, kinetic art pieces, and scientific curiosities for yourself. Purchasing items from the links on these pages will help support my IG page of science and wonder.

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@physicsfun highlighted new toy:

BUY NOW EP Lights LED Bulb Art coupon code: PHYS2019 (10% off)


the Orb Drop
A new KickStarter campaign from engineer and maker extraordinaire Rian Suiter. Rian has delivered on each all 7 of his creative physics toy related KickStarter campaigns to date. Check out his latest here:

From KickStarter: Order NOW orb drop marble run track


Nixie Tube Clock
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Nixie Tube Clock: 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-19A where the numbers are stacked so the front symbols minimally obscure each lighted cathode minimally: from back to front 1627504983. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this beautiful clock and many other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #neon #nixie #nixietube #nixieclock #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #emissionspectra #excitation #spectra #breakdownvoltage #paschenslaw #glowdischarge #glowdischargetube #highvoltage #science #scienceisawesome

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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



Vintage Flicker Bulb
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Vintage Flicker Bulb: the flexible 15 Watt carbon filament in this bulb oscillates back and forth producing a slight resemblance to a flickering flame. A magnet attached to the side of the bulb pushes on the magnetic field produced by the current flowing in the filament. Since US house mains current is AC at 60 Hz the current flow changes direction many times a second which in turn allows the magnet to push the filament back and forth at the same rate. Magnetic fields can add and subtract- here a strong magnet is used to temporarily make the filament go into chaotic oscillations. Light bulb physics! ➡ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to buy bulbs like this one and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #flickerbulb #electricflame #AmperesLaw #magnets #magneticfield #magnetism #electromagnetism #filament #lightbulb #flickerflame #physics #physicstoy #noveltybulb #science #scienceisawesome

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Similar bulbs available here while supplies last:

From eBay: BUY NOW Flicker Flame Bulb


Peridotite Xenoliths: Samples of Earth's Mantle
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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. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for more info and how to buy a piece of the Earth's mantle material and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #geology #rockhound #geophysics #geophysicstoy #mantlexenolith #xenolith #physics #physicstoy #peridotite #olivine #peridot #mineral #volcanic #lava #science #scienceisawesome

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nice and inexpensive samples available here:

From eBay: BUY NOW Mantle Xenolith Peridotite sample


Pegasus Automaton
Get this Pegasus, and many other automata (dragons, fish, flying pigs!) from Keith Newstead's Etsy store:

From Etsy: BUY NOW
Automata Kinetic Art by Newstead



Aquarius Fountain Lamp
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Aquarius Fountain Lamp: an oscillating stream of water is illuminated by strobe lights to reveal underlying structures and forms typically hidden from our vision. With the help of programmable micro-controllers, strips of addressable RBG LEDs are made to flash in sequences that make the water stream appear to move upwards, change colors, and split into multiple braided streams. Art meets physics and clever technology in this wonderful creation by computer engineer Stephen Co. With sincere appreciation to Stephen for sending me one of his hand crafted high tech fountains. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for information on where to buy this fountain and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physicstoy #physicsfun #physics #pov #stroboscopic #kineticart #Arduino #aliasing #Aquariusfountain #fluiddynamics #wagonwheeleffect #science #scienceisawesome

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These fountains are individually made by the artist hence they are priced as art reflecting the labor involved:

From Etsy store of Stephen Co : BUY NOW
Aquarius Fountain Lamp



Heritage Periodic Table Element Collection
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The Heritage Periodic Table Display: a comprehensive collection of the chemical elements that can fit in the hand. Embedded in acrylic are actual samples of 83 of the 118 elements- including pure bubbles of the gaseous elements- represented by 75 high purity samples and 7 compounds. 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the world changing periodic system of Dmitri Mendeleev (published in 1869). This table and collection Is the creative work of Tim and Cory Marriott of Engineered Labs Protoshop LLC ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this miniature element collection and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #periodictable #elements #elementcollection #heritageperiodictable #isotope #nucleus #physics #physicstoy #chemistry #nuclear #science #scienceisawesome

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Periodic Table with 83 element samples:

From Etsy store ProtoshopLLC : BUY NOW
Heritage Periodic Table



Miniature Van de Graaff Generator
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Van de Graaff Generator: this miniature electrostatic generator can create potentials of more than 50,000 volts allowing sparks to jump a couple centimeters through dry air. Similar physics to the sparks created when shoes scuff on carpet, a moving rubber dielectric belt carries electrons away from the top sphere leaving it positive charged- as can be seen by the electrostatic repulsion of some Mylar strands. A small battery powered 3V motor drives the belt via the bottom pulley in this unit that costs less than $10 US. With appreciation to @educational_innovations for sending me this device. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to buy this device and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicstoy #physicsfun #electrostaticdischarge #electricity #staticelectricity #electromagnetism #vandegraaff #vandegraaffgenerator #breakdownvoltage #spark #electrostatics #highvoltage #science #scienceisawesome #dielectric #triboelectric #triboelectriceffect

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This device is sold as the "Static Shocker" hands on lab. Get one here for $8.95! :


From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Static Shocker Mini Van de Graaff

The device can use an empty aluminum can for the top electrode which works- but this $9 hollow steel sphere looks and works even better- I used the 80mm sphere:

From eBay: BUY NOW Hollow Steel Sphere


Magnetic Suspension Lamp
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Magnetic Suspension Lamp: not only does this lamp defy gravity, the LEDs in the bulb are powered through wireless induction (no batteries needed). This kind of levitation uses a control system with an adjustable electromagnet in a feedback loop with Hall effect sensors which allows for fine tuning of the magnetic field to exactly balance the pull of gravity. If this lamp design is unplugged (or the power goes off) the bulb assembly does not fall, but instead snaps onto the upper armature via strong permanent magnets embedded within. Amazing physics demonstrated by clever engineering! ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info about where to get this lamp and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #equilibrium #neodymium #magnetic #magneticfield #halleffect #feedbackloop #controlsystem #physics #physicstoy #wirelessenergytransfer #electricalengineering #faradayslaw #electromagnetism #electromagnet #halleffectprobe #science #levitation #scienceisawesome #maglev

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Available for under $100 US:

From eBay: BUY NOW
Magnetic Suspension Lamp

From Amazon: BUY NOW
Magnetic Suspension Lamp



Heng Balance Lamp
Available here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW
Heng Balance Lamp



Ambiguous Object

These type of objects were invented by mathematician Kokichi Sugihara, and you can buy his books here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Ambiguous Objects by Kokichi Sugihara

Some 3D prints are available from many makers here:

From eBay: BUY NOW Ambiguous Objects


From Amazon (Japan): BUY NOW set of four ambiguous objects with booklet
This kit contains four white plastic illusion objects (including the arrow) and a booklet. I used the translate feature in the Chrome browser to place my order and it shipped to California in a few days.

The math and physics are described here in this technical journal article by Prof. Sugihara.


Ambiguous Object Illusion Mug
Available here

From eBay: BUY NOW Squirkle Mug Ambiguous Object Illusion


Tornado Spheres
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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 #physicsfun #magnus #magnuseffect #torque #rotation #rotationalinertia #amazing #concavemirror #science #aliasing #wagonwheeleffect #scienceisawesome

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Get a set here:

From eBay: BUY NOW Tornado Spheres
Get a concave mirror like the one in the video for less than $3 here:

From eBay: BUY NOW Concave Mirror
And get a set of inexpensive colored lights here:

From eBay: BUY NOW Color LED lights


Corona Discharge Trajectories
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Corona Discharge Trajectories: the ejected electron stream propels the end of a thin wire connected to a miniature Tesla coil. The corona discharge creates a glowing plasma at the end of the wire, but also imparts momenta that pushes the wire’s end into a final state circular orbit. The more interesting behavior occurs during the initial transient orbits which seem to be hypotrochoid type curves beautifully captured here using the Slow Shutter app. Please see seven posts back for details about this mini Tesla coil. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this Tesla coil with wire end attachment and many other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #tesla #teslacoil #resonance #transient #transientmotion #resonantfrequency #resonanttransformer #highvoltage #coronadischarge #highfrequency #oscillations #inductance #coppercoil #science #rccircuit #scienceisawesome

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Mini Tesla coil with wire end attachment:

From Amazon: BUY NOW
Mini Tesla Coil


Long exposure image captured using this Slow Shutter app:

From App Store: BUY NOW
Slow Shutter Cam - Cogitap Software


see videos and links below for more information and uses of this mini Tesla Coil


Gas Collection for Emission Spectra
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Gas Collection for Emission Spectra: pure samples of hydrogen, nitrogen and five Nobel gasses are subjected to the high frequency pulsed field of a miniature Tesla coil. Each gas has a characteristic breakdown voltage and emission spectrum- note that Nitrogen has the highest breakdown voltage and only glows when very near the coil where the field is most intense whereas Neon and Helium have the lowest breakdown voltage and begin to glow many centimeters away from the coil. The color of each gas is due to a mix of the colors emitted from electron energy transitions specific to each element- the basis of spectroscopy. The Krypton tube also exhibits interesting oscillations with this particular Tesla coil. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this set and many other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #neon #hydrogen #nitrogen #helium #argon #krypton #xenon #gascollection #emissionspectra #excitation #spectra #breakdownvoltage #paschenslaw #glowdischarge #glowdischargetube #teslacoil #highvoltage lightbulb #science #scienceisawesome

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I made the display holder and I got this set of gas tubes here (about $7 per tube):

From eBay: BUY NOW
Gas Pure Element Samples


The breakdown voltages of the elements featured in this post are described by Paschen's Law:

Here is a excellent article with an overview of the physics of glow discharge and its application in lighting and other technologies.

See next video and links for where to obtain the mini Tesla coil


Miniature Tesla Coil
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Tesla Coil: miniature low current version of the famous air core double-tuned resonate transformer invented by Nikola Tesla in 1891. The thick copper of the primary coil is set into three windings around the many windings of the tall secondary coil. This one uses a modern transistor circuit to excite the radio frequency oscillations that produce a voltage in excess of 50kV in the form of pulses that cycle about 100k times a second. This version is fed by a 24V DC power supply and is fairly safe due to a low current (mA)- but the circuitry does get hot and demands a huge heat sink with fan (the metal base can burn skin when operating). The coils comes with attachments- the spike produces a purple corona discharge as the voltage exceeds the breakdown voltage of air with current flowing into the air or arcing over to a grounded piece of metal. The corona discharge imparts momenta, and here the ends of a bent wire are set into rotation from the slight push of the escaping electrons. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this Tesla coil and many other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #tesla #teslacoil #resonance #resonantfrequency #resonanttransformer #highvoltage #coronadischarge #highfrequency #oscillations #inductance #coppercoil #science #rccircuit #scienceisawesome

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For the price, this is the best one on the market I think and beautiful to look at in copper- the music function does not do much, but it is a great little Tesla coil and it comes with three accessories for the top. Please be sure to employ all appropriate safety precautions when utilizing any electrical circuity!

From Amazon: BUY NOW
Mini Tesla Coil


Wikipedia has the details on the essential basic physics and design of Tesla Coils


Volta's Hailstorm
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Volta’s Hailstorm and Electrophorus: electrical forces due to electrostatic charge send foam beads flying in this version of the historic demonstration by physicist Alessandro Volta. The beads are covered with an electrically conductive coating allowing them to transfer charge from the environment to the plate of the electrophorus. The acrylic platform becomes negatively charged when rubbed with a paper napkin, but it is also an insulator so the charge on it can not flow on to the aluminum plate of the electrophorus. Instead the charge on the platform pushes electrons to the top of the plate (like signs repel) and touching the plate results in a spark that removes the electrons giving the plate a significant positive charge that will then attract the beads. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for more info on the physics of the electrophorus and where to get supplies to make this and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #electricity #electrophorus #volta #voltashailstorm #staticelectricity #physics #physicstoy #electriccharge #triboelectric #science #electromagnetism #electrons #triboelectric #franklinsbells #science #scienceisawesome

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This inexpensive electrophorus set works great!

From eBay: BUY NOW
Electrophorus Demonstration Set

The container is just the middle part cut from a plastic water bottle, and the "hail" stones are Styrofoam craft beads:

From Amazon: BUY NOW
Styrofoam Craft Beads

For Volta's Hailstorm to work, the beads must be coated with a conducting spray (here is what I used):

From Amazon: BUY NOW
Staticide Spray



Wikipedia has a very nice description of the physics of the Electrophorus and how it is used to transfer electric charge.

Ring Catch Chain Trick
Get a set here:

From eBay:(best selecton) BUY NOW Ring Chain Catch
From Amazon: BUY NOW Ring and Chain Set

The physics of this trick in great detail with more slow motion: Ring Falling into a Chain: No Magic — Just Physics


Sand Triangles Kinetic Toy
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Sand Triangles Kinetic Toy: physics of granular materials- matter with unique properties between those of solids and liquids- as demonstrated with this simple, oddly satisfying, vintage toy. Granular materials, such as the sand in this toy, flow but also stack with a characteristic angle of repose as can be seen here- the triangular peaks that form always have the same peak angle. The angle of repose mostly depends on the shape of the individual grains, rounded pieces cannot stack as steeply as rough shaped ones. ➡ Follow the link in my profile for more info about where to find physics sand toys and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #granular #granularmaterials #angleofrepose #avalanche #sand #sandtoy #sanddrifter #kineticart #science #scienceisawesome

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This vintage toy is no longer in production (I found this on on eBay). Here are some sand sculptures that also depend on the angle of repose of the granular medium used:

From Amazon: BUY NOW
Sandscape Sculptures



Wham-O Magic Window
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Wham-O Magic Window: popular 1970s toy with immiscible sand like substances interacting under gravity to create images that evoke seascapes and mountains. Unlike most shifting sand devices available today, the Magic Window did not contain any liquid- all the interesting behavior results from the physics of granular materials, specifically interactions due to different sizes and shapes (jagged like salt or round like glass beads) of the grains comprising the different colored “sands”. Shown here is a vintage retail store display stand with the rare “Crystal Fantasy” version of this kinetic art toy. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this device and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #sandart #kineticart #angleofrepose #physics #granularphysics #granularmaterial #crystalfantasy #physicstoy #magicwindow #whamo #1970s #throwback #immiscible #science #kineticart #scienceisawesome

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Vintage Wham-O Magic Windows are almost always available on eBay :

From eBay: BUY NOW
Vintage Magic Window



Curves of Constant Width
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Curves of Constant 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- and regardless of the precise shape, any curve of constant width has a perimeter equal to pi times its width! These physical representations of the special curves seen here are produced by Maths Gear (Matt Parker and Steve Mould). ➡️ 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)

Viewing a Corner Cube Prism
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Viewing a Corner Cube Prism: what one seems when looking in to a retro-reflector prism 👁. A light ray entering a mirrored corner cube prism always exits along a parallel path- but how would a camera capture this experience? Did I fool you? The geometry of a trihedral retroreflector is simply the corner of a cube, and arrays of corner-cubes like this one were placed on the Moon by Apollo astronauts to allowing precise measurement of the Earth-Moon distance by bouncing powerful laser pulses back to Earth observatories. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get a corner cube like this one and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicstoy #prism #retroreflector #cornercube #mirror #laser #fluorescence #surveying #optics #reflection #refraction #science #scienceisawesome #aprilfools

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See next video and links for where to get a retroreflector


Corner Cube Prism
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Corner Cube Prism: a light ray entering a mirrored retro-reflecting prism always exits along a parallel path. The complete path in the prism can be seen with a 405nm UV laser beam which is made visible via fluorescence of dopant chemicals (such as Pb, Mn, and Zn) often added to create optical glass. The geometry of a trihedral retroreflector is simply the corner of a cube! Arrays of corner-cubes like this one were placed on the Moon by Apollo astronauts to allowing precise measurement of the Earth-Moon distance by bouncing powerful laser pulses back to Earth observatories. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get a corner cube like this one and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicstoy #prism #retroreflector #cornercube #mirror #laser #fluorescence #surveying #optics #reflection #refraction #science #scienceisawesome

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Retroreflectors available here:

From eBay: BUY NOW
Corner Cube Reflector


-and a inexpensive UV laser pointer here:

From eBay: BUY NOW
405nm Laser Pointer



Möbius Zipper
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Möbius Zipper: exploring topology with a bisecting strip (a zipper with velcro ends). 0 twists creates a cylinder which simply gives two cylinders when split, ½ twist creates a Möbius strip- splitting down the center produces one long loop with with two full twists, 1 twist in a loop-splitting in half produces two interlocked Möbius loops! Just some of the curious properties concerning the Möbius strip, an unorientable, one sided surface, with only one boundary. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for more info and where to get many of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicstoy #physicsfun #math #mathtoy #mathstoy #topology #Möbius #mobius #mobiusstrip #zipper #scienceisawesome

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If you like this kind of math exploration I highly recommend this book by Matt Parker:

From Amazon: BUY NOW
Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension


... and any of the books by Martin Gardner

From Amazon: BUY NOW
Recreational Math Books


Magnetic Viewing Film
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Magneview Flim: making the invisible visible and revealing the hidden physics of our everyday world. 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 north and south pole 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 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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Get some magnetic viewing film here:


From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Viewing Film

South Pointing Spoon
Available here

From eBay: BUY NOW Han Dynasty Compass


Argon Phosphor Plasma Globe
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Argon Phosphor Plasma Globe: high voltage glow discharge of low pressure argon in a mix of gasses which create plasma filaments that emit line spectra mostly at frequencies between blue and ultraviolet. The UV emissions then excite a thin coating of phosphors to produce the green light. A small high frequency coil at center creates the high voltage potential between the center electrode and a very thin metal coating on the glass globe. This unique version of the plasma globe was found in a shipment of @thecuriositybox by the Vsauce team- a great way to start your own physics toy collection! ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get a plasma globe like this one and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #tesla #plasma #plasmaball #plasmaglobe #physics #physicstoy #emissionspectra #electromagnetism #glow #phosphorescent #glowdischarge #lightbulb #lightning #highvoltage #science #scienceisawesome

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This interesting version available here:

From eBay: BUY NOW
Purple-Green Plasma Globe



Tesla's Egg of Columbus: Copper PhiTOP version
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Tesla’s Egg of Columbus: a copper ellipsoid egg (PhiTOP) mysteriously spins and stands upright in this modern version of Tesla’s famous demonstration from the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago that first showcased the principles behind wireless power transfer and his AC induction motor. Rotating magnetic fields from under the wooden platform induce electric eddy currents to flow in the copper PhiTOP- these currents then create their own magnetic field which oppose the initial fields underneath and pushes the PhiTOP to spin. This version I built differs from Tesla’s in that the rotating magnetic fields are created by, well, a pair of rotating neodymium magnets (revealed by lifting the top platform in this model). Credit to astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, the creator of the PhiTOP, and this unique means of using a common lab magnetic stirrer to create the induced currents. Finally, the ellipsoid top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get a PhiTOP and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #ellipsoid #oblateellipsoid #conicsections #tippetop #torque #angularmomentum #lenzslaw #magneticstirrer #magneticinduction #tesla #teslasegg #ACMotor #eggofColumbus #rotationalinertia #PhiTOP #physics #physicstoy #flip #flipover #precession #spin #spinning #top #spinningtop #science #scienceisawesome

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PhiTOPs are available in Aluminum, Brass, and Copper (most conductive!):

From Etsy: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Copper
From Etsy: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Brass
From Amazon: BUY NOW PhiTOP in Aluminum

See the videos below for more on the PhiTOP and using magnetic induction to spin it up.


Induced Current Spin-Up: PhiTOP on a magnetic stirrer
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Induced Current Spin-Up: Spinning magnets from the magnetic stirrer induce electric currents to flow in the brass PhiTOP- these currents then create their own magnetic field which opposes the magnets underneath and pushes the PhiTOP to spin. Credit to astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, the creator of the PhiTOP and this unique means of using Lenz’s Law to spin it up. This top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. The concave lens keeps the top from wandering off of magnetic stirrer. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this device and many other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #ellipsoid #oblateellipsoid #conicsections #tippetop #torque #angularmomentum #lenzslaw #magneticstirrer #magneticinduction #tesla #rotationalinertia #PhiTOP #physics #physicstoy #flip #flipover #precession #spin #spinning #top #spinningtop #science #scienceisawesome

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This lab stirrer (which I modified to have a transparent top) can be used in many investigations and demonstrations:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Stirrer

Inexpensive concave lenses make great spinning platforms- get one here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Concave Lens Spin Station

Mirror Anamorphic Lenticular Cup & Saucer by Luycho
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Mirror Anamorphic Lenticular Cup & Saucer: a toucan sits in a nest of flowers, revealed only when the cylindrical mirrored cup is put in place. This beautiful design by Luycho uses both mirror anamorphic reflection and an accordion type lenticular dual image. Art meets math and physics! DM @luycho for details. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this and many other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #reflection #geometry #cube #luycho #optics #light #snellslaw #kineticart #physics #physicstoy #science #math #mathtoy #toucan #anamorphos #art #physics #physicstoy #mirror #cylinder #science #scienceisawesome #kineticart #anamorphosis #mirrorAnamorphosis #mathstoys

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Direct message Luycho on Instagram about this design. Other designs can be seen here:

From Luycho:
Luycho | A New world on Mirrors



Colordripper Liquid Motion
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Colordrippers: liquid kinetic art using immiscible fluids of varying density and viscosity which trade places under gravity producing mesmerizing patterns. The less dense liquids in each container rise in accordance with Archimedes principle through a hole in between the clear walls of acrylic. Every Colordripper contains a unique combination, in each side of the double container, of colored oils and other nontoxic household chemicals- some mixes have thicker liquids which move slower and others with fast moving thin oils. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #fluiddynamics #immiscible #liquiddrop #oildrop #hourglass #physics #physicstoy #physicsfun #surfacetension #viscosity #archimedesprinciple #bouyancy #scienceisawesome

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Many color combinations to choose from- no two are identical:

From Etsy: BUY NOW
Colordripper Liquid Kinetic Art



The Random Walker
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The Random Walker: second model of two Galton Boards designed and produced by IFA.com- this version is made to demonstrate probability in investment returns of a global stock market portfolio relating to risk capacity. Slow motion reveals the erratic path of each steel ball (second half of video). The red graph shows the distribution of 592 monthly returns (mean =1%, SD=5%) representing data from 50 years of an IFA Index fund- here the random “walk” of 3000 steel balls falling through 12 levels of branching paths always produce a close match, and both distributions tend toward the famous bell curve distribution. A wonderfully designed modern version of the Galton Box invented by Sir Francis Galton(1894) to demonstrate the Central Limit Theorem - showing how random processes gather around the mean. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for more info and where to buy a Galton Board like this one and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #statistics #math #mathtoy #physicstoy #physics #random #galtonbox #SirFracisGalton #hexstat #probability #pascalstriangle #binomial #binomialdistribution #gaussian #centrallimittheorem #quincunx #turbulence #TRW #therandomwalker #randomwalk #iphoneslomo #240fps #slomo #science #scienceisawesome #mathstoys

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Galton Board version available here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW
Galton Board



Switch Pitch Ball
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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. The Switch Pitch is produced by the makers of the Hoberman Sphere. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this device and 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 from these fine sources:

From Amazon: BUY NOW Switch Pitch



From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Switch Pitch


Kostick Foldable Star Kinetic Sculptures
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Kostick Stars: The geometric forms of these kinetic sculptures snap into place due only to the balanced tension forces between the slightly bent bronze wires. The large star is comprised of six struts, each made of 5 wires, which are made to intersect and weave though each other with beautiful geometric regularity. Similarly the small star has 4 struts each made of 3 wires. The ends of the 6 struts of the large star become the 12 vertices of an icosahedron, and the ends of the 4 struts of the small star point to the 8 corners of a cube. Both stars can be collapsed along along many of the symmetry axes. Invented and patented in 1970, these stars are still produced and sold by artist and designer John Kostick. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get these structures and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicsfun #tensionforce #tensegrity #kostickstar #buckminsterfuller #kennethsnelson #icosahedron #cube #platonicsolids #compression #kosticks #structuralengineering #science #scienceisawesome

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Two versions available here:

From Art of Play: BUY NOW
Kostick's Stars


Here is the detail of the connections of the 6 star from the patent document:

Learn more about John Kostick here: John and Jane Kostick handcrafted mathematical constructions


Polage Display: Art with Polarized Light
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Polage Display: art with polarized light using polarizing sheets and cellulose to create changing forms and colors. Rotation of the filter allows the artist to produce colorful metamorphosis. This piece was created by Austine Wood Comarow- the main developer of this art form- as part of a campaign to promote Maui Jim polarized sunglasses. Light has an orientation, denoted as polarization, and a polarizing filter can be used to block certain orientations. The colors in polage come from how the molecular structure of plastics can rotate the polarization of any light that passes through- but only light corresponding to yellows and greens gets rotated in plastic, reds and blues not so much. Polage uses different layers of plastic to rotate the light, and then polarizing filters are added to allow only certain frequencies (colors) of light through. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for more info about the physics of polage and where to get art featured on @physicsfun #polarizer #polarizedlight #light #optics #physics #physicstoy #kineticart #electromagnetism #polage #science #linearpolarization #scienceisawesome #AustineWood #mauijim #polarizedsunglasses @austine_studio

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Austine has an online gallery of her amazing work.

From Austine Studios: Polarized Light Art

This kit has everything needed to make your own polarization art:


From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Polarizing Film Kit
The kit also includes a birefringent crystal, colorful optically active mica sheets, and a polarimetry demo that reveals when structures are under stress. A great value for so much physics fun!

Sometimes Austine's work can be found on eBay:

From eBay: BUY NOW Polage by Austine

Here is a very nice discussion about polarization that pertains to Polage: Experiments With Polarized Light by Donald E. Simanek


Shadow Stereographic Projection
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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 3D prints 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.


Random Dither Image Encryption
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Dither Image Encryption: three images hidden in random dither patterns are revealed by precisely overlaying and aligning any two patterns in the generated set. Amazingly each pattern holds two encrypted images where b+c=♣, a+b=♦, and c+a=♥. These patterns were created by Dithercrypt, a shared python script created by Andy Lutomirsky. The concept of entropy is shared between physics and cryptography, and gives a measure of the randomness inserted and strength of the key. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile to access the mentioned python code and for info on where to get the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physicsfun #physics #dither #cryptography #physicstoy #cipher #mathtoy #mathstoy #secretcode #science #scienceisawsome

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I got this set as part of the Gathering 4 Gardner gift exchange. For those with coding skills- here's the python script:
From GitHub: Dithercript


Circularly Polarized Reflecting Scarab
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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
Get the circular polarizing filters here (inexpensive):

From eBay: BUY NOW Circular Polarizing Filter Glasses

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


Catenary Curve: The Gateway Arch
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Catenary Curve: the Gateway Arch matches the shape of a chain hanging from two ends, a curve known as the catenary or hyperbolic cosine- demonstrated here with a scale model souvenir (1”=100’). When an arch is built in the shape of this special mathematical curve the compression forces between each segment are always parallel to the curve- the arch is stable with no tendency to buckle. Famously used in architecture, from the buttresses of Notre Dame to the Gateway Arch. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for more info on where to find this and many more of the amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #exploratorium #catenary #hyperboliccosine #gatewayarch #alysiod #architecture #catenaryarch #uniformload #physics #physicstoy #science #scienceisawesome

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Get this scale model here:

From eBay: BUY NOW Scale Gateway Arch

See next video and links for more catenary curve fun!

Catenary Arch at the Exploratorium
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Catenary Arch @exploratorium : when an arch is built in the shape of this special mathematical curve (even with slippery blocks) the compression forces between each block are always parallel to the curve- the stack is stable with no tendency to buckle. The catenary is the exact shape of a chain hanging by its ends, also known as the hyperbolic cosine. Famously used in architecture, from the buttresses of Notre Dame to the Gateway Arch. 🌟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 #catenary #hyperboliccosine #gatewayarch #alysiod #architecture #catenaryarch #uniformload #physics #physicstoy #physicsfun #science #scienceisawesome

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Catenary Curves at the Exploratorium.

Visit the Exploratorium


Paul Hewitt wonderfully describes the physics of the catenary.


Kalliroscope with Convection Stand
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Kalliroscope with Convection Stand: visualizing convection currents. Invented and produced by Paul Matisse in the 1970s, suspended microscopic flat crystals of guanine reflect light and allow visualization of the fluid's motion. This rheoscopic fluid is special in that the guanine crystals are the same density as the tetrachloroethylene liquid so the crystals never settle to the bottom allowing the fluid to show the slightest movement. The stand is only about 5 degrees C warmer than room temperature- enough to create the convection currents seen here- due a heating element (a simple resistor) in the base. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for more info on where to get this and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #rheoscopicfluid #rheoscopic #Matisse #PaulMatisse #convection #kineticart #fluiddynamics #1970 #1970s #Calder #kineticsclupture #kalliroscope #physics #physicstoy #art #psychedelic #lavalamp #science #scienceisawesome

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Vintage (1970s) Kalliroscopes are sometimes available here:

From eBay: Search NOW
Kalliroscopes


See the next video and link for the best Kalliroscope currently in production and available.


Vortex Dome Kalliroscope
Get one from David Fowler's Etsy shop:

From PhysicsHack on Etsy: BUY NOW
Vortex Dome Kalliroscope



Vintage Telephone Magneto
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Vintage Telephone Magneto: a functioning antique 5 bar telephone magneto generator- made in 1910! As indicated by the neon bulb voltage divider- with sufficient cranking speed this generator can create more than 280 Volts AC peak to peak using the characteristic horseshoe shaped magnets (bars) to provide the induction field. The AC current is of a low frequency as indicated by the flickering bulbs. Back in 1910 only 40% of US homes had electricity so these generators were used to ring telephone bells up to 20 miles away! ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get a vintage magneto and other amazing things featured here on @physicsfun #telephony #AC #light #physics #magneto #telephonemagneto #physicstoy #magneticinduction #generator #alternator #voltagedivider #science #scienceisawesome

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vintage magnetos are available here:

From eBay: BUY NOW
Bar Magneto Generator



Copycoder
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Copycoder: clever use of an array of cylindrical lenses to scramble and unscramble large font messages- a modern "secret code" toy. The refractive optics invert slivers of an image to encode or decode it. You can scramble an image by photocopying a message covered with the array plate, or go to copycoder.com and a program will scramble a message that you can print out to send to anyone that also has the lens array. Invented by Steve Ostler from the UK. Fun! ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get this and many of the items featured here on @physicsfun #copycoder #lens #lensarray #cylindrical #cylindricallens #optics #physics #physicstoy #secretcode #secretmessage #secretcodetoy #encryptiontoy #science #scienceisawesome

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Get one here:

From Mindsets: BUY NOW Copy Coder


Sodium Fluorescein Paperweight
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Sodium Fluorescein: this organic compound acts as a special dye that absorbs energy of blue and UV light and then emits it as green light. In daylight a solution of fluorescein will appear to have a strange green highlight, but when illuminated from behind it is yellowish gold in color due to absorption of all the blue and green light that tries to pass through. This sample of fluorescein solution is encased in acrylic and made in to this odd paperweight I found on eBay. A fun physics find! ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info on where to get fluorescein dye and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #physics #physicsfun #physicstoy #fluorescein #uvdye #fluorophore #excitation #emissionspectrum #fluorescence #absorption #paoerweight #science #scienceisawesome

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Fluorescein powder is inexpensive and solutions of it easy to make and experiment with:

From eBay: BUY NOW
Fluorescein




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