November 1, 2006 Issue

Physics To Go 12 - Microwaved CD/aerogel

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Physics in Your World

Art of Science 2006 image
photo credit: Arianna Gianola

Art of Science 2006

This photo (hi-res version), from Princeton's Art of Science 2006, shows the effect of exposing a compact disk to the radiation inside a microwave oven. For more microwave experiments, visit Physics Inside a Microwave Oven by Maarten Rutgers. Please note that placing metal objects in a microwave oven can be dangerous, so don't try these experiments yourself.

This feature was updated on July 4, 2013.

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Physics at Home

Disappearing Glass Rod

Make a piece of glass disappear when you put it in a liquid! All you'll need is a glass object and some Wesson™ oil. At the Exploratorium's Disappearing Glass Rod you'll find directions, an explanation of the physics, and some related activities.


From Physics Research

Aerogel: Comet Dust-Catcher image
photo credit: NASA/JPL/UW

Aerogel: Comet Dust-Catcher

This photo (hi-res version) shows aerogel, the engineered material that trapped particles from comet Wild 2 (see Aerogel: Catching Comet Dust) as a part of NASA's Stardust probe.

Areogel is a silicon-based solid, like glass, but with a density only about twice that of air. It's an excellent insulator, and a small piece can support a brick (see photo in the NASA Stardust photo gallery). The key to aerogel's properties is its dendritic (branching) structure.

Worth a Look

Improbable Research

This website, Improbable Research, provides "research that makes people laugh and then think."  Links are provided to selected articles from the Journal of Improbable Research and to each year's Ig Nobel Prizes.

While you're on the site, check out "The Biology of B-Movie Monsters," October 31, 2006.

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