electricity and magnetism

RoboEars

© ACS

© ACS

The story

I come across a lot of science news stories (as you can imagine) and  have noticed that journalists are attracted to certain topics – ones that they think have a certain ‘sexy’ appeal to their readers I imagine. Bionic body parts seems to be one of them – conjuring imagery of a future where we are all enhanced by ultra-efficient prosthetic body parts like RoboCop.

One of these stories that hit the press recently was the news that researchers in Princeton have created a ‘bionic’ ear. More

Electrifying stunt

Magician David Blaine has just completed this latest stunt – to stand on a platform for 72 hours whilst being ‘electrified’ by 1 million volts of electricity.

This video would be good in any lesson on electricity as it demonstrates the use of a Faraday cage in an unusual context. You could show the start of the video where he is getting dressed up in the chain-mail outfit and explain to the class what will happen to him. They can tell you how dangerous they think this stunt actually is and why.

Of course, he was in no real danger of being electrocuted as the metal in the suit conducted the charge and kept it away from his body. The only real risk that his body was under was the fatigue of having to stand up straight with no food or drink for 3 days.

Electrical art

The story

Bare paint is an ink which conducts electricity. The paint has been around for a while and has been used to create interactive posters and even to light-up models in a music video. The video below shows how it can be used to create a simple circuit.

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Beautiful physics

This video shows an interesting merge of physics and make-up which might just be the hook you need to get certain individuals in your class interested in science (you know who they are!). More

Hamster Power

Credit: Mylius at wikimedia

The story

Did you know:  The hamster species P.roborovskii have been said to run the equivalent of four human marathons per night?

This interesting but apparently useless fact came to my attention via Guardian blogger Grrl Scientist.  The blog post went on to explain the ways that all this kinetic energy could be harnessed to power electrical devices and I thought that it might be a fun way of teaching about energy transfer.

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Street lights to face cuts to working hours

The story

It seems nothing is safe from the wave of council cutbacks sweeping the nation as Pembrokeshire council has just announced that it is planning to start turning off 14 000 of its street lights in order to save money (and cut down on its carbon footprint). More

It's Christmas!!

A very short post today as the pre-chrimbo lethargy is settling in as I suspect it is in most schools across the country.

However, I am aware that you may need some lessons to keep the children both entertained and educated so I present you with a couple of Christmas-themed physics lesson ideas which are suitable for KS2 and KS3 classes. More

The crazy world of future electricity generation

Image: Joby Energy

With all of the publicity surrounding the BP leak, crude oil is earning a very bad reputation indeed.  Hopefully some good will come out of the tragedy by persuading governments to look more seriously at using renewable sources of energy. More

Spinning around

firewinder

© 2008 The Firewinder Company Limited.

I’m always on the lookout for new toys and gadgets that can demonstrate science in a fun way.  The latest one to catch my eye is the Firewinder.  The helical structure catches the wind, and the turning affect creates electricity which is used to light the LED bulbs embedded in its surface.  It’s a bit like a wind turbine, only looks nicer in the dark. More