electromagnetic spectrum

Electric Tape

I really wanted to use the Electric Tape experiment for a video, but the sparks did not show up enough on tape. Until I can afford one of the new, super low light video cameras, we will have to get by with reading the text version. After the recent news articles about producing x-rays with adhesive tape, I thought it would be fun to do an experiment that would help explain how it works.

Eclipse Watching


A photo I took during a partial eclipse.

Solar eclipses are fairly rare, so it is always a treat to be able to observe one. The main challenge is to find a way to see the eclipse, without damaging your eyes. While there are special filters that let you watch an eclipse, there is also a very safe, very simple way to observe it with materials that you probably already have.

You will need:

Seeing Dark Lines

In the Bubble Colors activity, we saw how light waves could cancel each other to produce the colors we see in a soap bubble. In that experiment, we only canceled out part of the light, removing some colors so we could see others. This time, we are going to cancel it entirely to let you see lines of darkness while you are looking at a light.

CD Spectrum

This experiment uses a computer CD or DVD. If you have ever looked closely at either a music or computer CD, you have probably noticed that they produce rainbows. If you hold the CD with the shiny side up and let light from a lamp reflect off of it, you will see a very nice rainbow of colors. If you are using a regular incandescent bulb, you will see all of the colors of the rainbow: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. If you use other kinds of bulbs, you may find some colors missing.

Bubble Colors

I came across the idea for this while searching for the website of Tom Noddy. Tom is the original bubble man (and in my opinion, still the best.) He planted the seed for my decision to go into business for myself. I met him while I was working at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum. He was doing a weekend of shows at the museum and got to see me doing an electricity show. He told me that I should take the show on the road. That was back in 1987. It has been a long and wonderful road so far, and hopefully it is far from over.

Bouncing Remotes

This experiment comes from spending too much time in hotel rooms as I travel. As I was packing for the trip home, I found a very useful technique for adjusting the television when I was not directly in front of it.

A Color You Can't See

Think of all the colors you can see? Think about rainbows, field full of flowers, and holiday decorations. With all of the colors that we can see, there are many more that we can't see, at least with just our eyes. With the help of a cell phone, you can see some of those invisible colors.