force and interactions

Dirty Words of Science

This experiment is a result of quite a few e-mails that I have received over the years that I have been writing the Experiment of the Week. I hope that it will show some of the communication problems that can occur when scientists and "normal people" talk to each other.

Dancing Raisins

This experiment is another old classic which is still a lot of fun. Now that I think of it, it seems that most of the science tricks I did as a kid have become OLD classics, but this was already an old classic even way back then.

Creeping Carpets

This experiment is one that has been "cooking" in my mind for a while now. Today I had carpets on my mind, since I was cleaning them with our new carpet cleaner. We live at the beach, and our carpets tend to get dirty and sandy, so we place small rugs along the pathway that gets the most use. One problem is that the rugs don't stay there. They slowly migrate across the room. How can this happen? Is the cat doing it to drive us crazy? (She would if she thought it would work!) No, the cat is not involved. The movement is due to the interaction between the carpet and the rugs.

Comb Kazoo

I was talking with a group of educators about demonstrations. The conversation led to an interesting discussion, and this experiment. It is one that we did back when I was a kid, and it is still fun.

Collapsing Tent

Tonight I was remembering a summer when I was part of an expedition to dig dinosaur bones in South Dakota. We set out tents up on top of the bluff, where we would have a nice view of the area and because it was very close to the bone quarry. While we were at the quarry digging, the wind came up and our tents were blown quite a ways down the hill. It only took us three trys to give up and move our camp down into a ravine. At least we found lots of dinosaur bones.

Catching Money

This experiment is one that I was reminded of while presenting a teacher workshop on hands-on science in the classroom. We were going over some of the easy, spur of the moment things that you can do for science, and one of the teachers reminded me of this one. It is fun and a bit amazing too.

Cat Wiggles

If you have ever watched a cat preparing to pounce on its favorite toy, you may have seen it wiggle its back legs from side to side just before it leaps. Why do they do that? It would seem that the movement would alert their prey, so there has to be a good reason for the behavior. To understand that, we need to learn a bit about muscles and tendons.

Breathing Hot and Cold

One of the most common questions that I get is where do I get the ideas for these experiments. Some are old classics that I try to give a new angle. Others are the result of questions sent to me by subscribers. Some of the ones that I like the best are the ones that just pop up, seemingly out of nowhere. This is one of those. It also comes with its own story, which makes it even better.

The story is one of Aesop's fables. If you have never read any of these, go read some. It is well worth the time.