June 1, 2006 Issue

Physics To Go 2 - Magnet art/space flame

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Physics in Your World

Physics in Action: Ferrofluid Fun image
Copyright Felice Frankel, from "Envisioning Science, the Design and Craft of the Science Image;" larger image

Physics in Action: Ferrofluid Fun

Physics becomes art in this photo of a ferrofluid with permanent magnets underneath. In a ferrofluid, a region of constant magnetic field produces a pattern of spikes.

To find out more about ferrofluids, see the Physics Central feature Ferrofluid Fun.

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Physics at Home

Make Tracks

Security note:
Once you have clicked on the "simulation" link below, be sure to read the Java Security Advisory before running the simulation: To do that, click the "Read now" button on the yellow band near the top of the PhET page.

Try this PhET roller coaster simulation.


From Physics Research

Flames in Space image
credit: NASA

Flames in Space

The photo shows two flames, one on Earth and one in space.

On Earth, the heat produced by the candle expands the nearby gas, and it makes the gas more buoyant, so it rises and produces the tall flame. Up in the Space Shuttle, it's quite different, since the Shuttle, the air inside, and the candle are in free fall; everything falls around Earth together, so there is no up or down created by gravity. In space, the flame spreads out equally in all directions, distributing the heat into a far larger volume than on Earth, and producing the cool blue flame.

To learn more, visit Not Just Another Old Flame.

This feature was updated on July 2, 2013.

Worth a Look

Bad Astronomy

This web site, by astronomer Philip Plait, is devoted to airing out myths and common misconceptions in astronomy and related topics. There's a general section on misconceptions, and then examples from movies, the news, and TV. You'll find a bulletin board with a huge number of posts on a variety of topics.

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