## Science Never Sucks | Milk Bottle and Egg

by: Tami O’Connor

One of my all time favorite air pressure activities is an oldie and a goodie!  It involves getting an egg into a classic, hard-to-find milk bottle, like the ones delivered to grandma’s door.  Unfortunately, some students (and some teachers) still think an egg can actually be sucked into a bottle.  As you probably know because the air pressure is greater outside of the bottle than inside, the better explanation is that the egg is literally pushed into the milk bottle.

Here is the explanation… The milk bottle and egg demo begins by placing two or three burning matches or a burning strip of paper into the empty bottle.  Then a shelled, moistened hard-boiled egg is placed on the mouth of the bottle.  The egg is clearly larger than the opening in the bottle.  The air inside the bottle begins to heat up and subsequently expands.  It is easy to notice the egg dancing around a bit as the air inside the bottle escapes around it.

by:  Martin Sagendorf

An Odd Name: They’re named for the German physicist Ernest Chladni who popularized them in the mid-1700s.  His name is pronounced: kläd’nêz.

Chladni Plates are: Thin plates (sprinkled with fine particles) vibrated perpendicular to their plane.

How? – Then and Now: Long ago Chladni used a cello bow to excite the edge of a thin metal or wooden plate.  Today, we can use an oscillator, amplifier, and an electro-mechanical oscillator.  We have a great advantage, we can easily vary the frequency of excitation thereby providing a whole vista of experimentation.

## Making Optics Demos Easier

by:  Martin Sagendorf

We’ve all likely encountered the time-consuming effort required to set up an optics demo; all the necessary components are on hand, but they don’t easily work together.  The difficulty is obvious: the various components are either ‘loose’ or mounted at differing heights.  Thus: wasted and frustrating time ‘shimming’ with books and pads to match the heights of the components.

The solution is simple: choose a height (above bench top) and mount every optical component at the same (optical centerline) height.  But, how does one choose a height?  Simple: first, determine the optical component with the highest centerline then second, build supports for all the other components – matching this centerline height.

I began with a 100 Watt clear light bulb mounted upon a wooden base – the center of the filament was 4-3/4” above the bench top.  I then ensured that everything else I had, or planned to incorporate in demos, could be centered at this height.

The supports shown in the following illustrations are of ¾” pine – either screwed or glued together.  Where required, various combinations of rubber feet and jackscrews provide support and positioning capability.  When applicable, stacks of steel washers are incorporated to add stability. Read the rest of this entry »

## Dreaming of NASA and Meteorites

by Ted Beyer

Ever since I was a kid, I have been fascinated with space. I would look up at the stars, and I just knew that other people were up there somewhere, looking back at our little point of light, and thinking the same kind of thoughts.  On the day I turned seven, Neil and Buzz landed on the moon and I was sure that—somehow—when I grew up, I would get there, too.

Incidentally, that’s me in the red on the right in the picture below.  And on the left? Well, that’s Buzz Aldrin!