How it works: Pyrex Glass vs. Vegetable Oil

How it works: Pyrex Glass vs. Vegetable Oil

There isn’t much that comes to mind when we try to compare the similarities of pyrex glass and vegetable oil. No, we are not baking or cooking, we are simply doing an awesome at-home science experiment. It turns out that these two things have something very fundamentally in common: they have the same index of

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Anti-Bubbles DIY!

Anti-Bubbles DIY!

We have all experienced bubbles in our day to day lives, whether its blowing bubbles outside on a summer day, seeing bubbles in the soda that you drink, or blowing through your straw. It’s just a thin sphere of liquid enclosing air or some other type of gas, but what is an anti-bubble? As you

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More Slinky Science

More Slinky Science

 You can use slinkies to demonstrate all things waves! Start with the basics: wavelength, amplitude and frequency. Once you’ve got those down, then you can play around with some things that are a bit more complicated like wave type, standing waves, and superposition. Longitudinal waves, like sound waves, expand and compress as they travel

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The Easiest UV Detector Ever

The Easiest UV Detector Ever

Science is full of words to describe the glowing process. We use bioluminescence for the glimmer of plankton, phosphorescence for the slow, ghostly shine of glow-in-the-dark toys, and fluorescence for pigments that emit light while exposed to just the right energy source. L to R: Fluorite sphere with phosphorescent coating, Don Mengason, Gemological Institute of

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DIY Soap-Powered Boat

DIY Soap-Powered Boat

Ever filled a container with water, and then filled it some more? With a careful touch, you might have created a hill of liquid taller than the container itself. This works because of the surface tension, or cohesion, between water molecules. Place a small paper, plastic or cardboard “boat” on the water’s surface, and molecules

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How To Trap a Laser

How To Trap a Laser

Ever notice how, when you look into rippling water, you see slices of what’s below the surface mixed with broken reflections of the world above? When light hits a boundary between two different media, it can either travel ahead into the second medium (refraction), bounce back into the first (reflection), or do a little of

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Levitate a Soda Can

Levitate a Soda Can

Did you know that Bernoulli’s principle is a statement of conservation of energy? The sum of kinetic and potential energy is constant in every closed system. In fluid dynamics, potential energy is an expression of the pressure within a volume of liquid or gas. When a fluid moves faster (its kinetic energy increases), pressure (potential

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Geometric Bubbles

Geometric Bubbles

Bubble formation is governed by one simple rule: minimize surface area. Free-floating bubbles are spherical because that’s the most efficient way to enclose a given volume of air. Give a soap film edges to stretch between, and its behavior gets interesting! Try building geometric bubble frames out of drinking straws and pipe cleaners. Create corner

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DIY Science: Make an Egg Bounce

DIY Science: Make an Egg Bounce

What do egg shells, coral reefs, and human bones have in common? They’re all made of calcium carbonate! This brittle mineral compound dissolves in acid. Try submerging an egg in white vinegar (a mild acid) for 24 hours, changing the vinegar, then continuing to soak the egg for about a week. What do you observe?

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DIY: The Invincible Bag

DIY: The Invincible Bag

What do DNA, RNA, styrofoam, and Ziploc bags have in common? They’re all made of polymers! Polymers are macromolecules, or long chains of repeated small parts. They’re stretchy, tough, and omnipresent– polymers even encode your body! Individual molecules are too small to be directly observed by humans, but we can see some of the properties

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DIY Optics Experiment

DIY Optics Experiment

Ever tried burning wood or pine needles with a magnifying glass? It works best when you adjust the glass to create a small, bright spot of light. After its 93-million-mile journey to Earth, sunlight isn’t ordinarily hot enough to start a fire, but the magnifying lens focuses a large cross-section of light rays into a

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Modeling Outer Space

Modeling Outer Space

 You’re carrying an awful lot of weight right now. It’s hard to tell, but every square inch of you is supporting fifteen pounds of atmospheric pressure! Multiply that by the number of square inches on the surface of a human body, and you’ll find you’re bearing a hefty load. Atmospheric pressure results from the

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