Skepticism

Sunday Science Experiment

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to spend some time with my friend Larry, a man with enough patience to teach science to 12-year-olds. Here’s one of the tools he’s going to use in the upcoming school year — a vortex cannon! Okay, so it’s basically a trashcan with a hole cut in the bottom and a shower curtain stretched across the top, but it’s mega-cool. Basically, when you slap the shower curtain you send a surprisingly strong blast of air through the hole, demonstrating the fact that air takes up space and can be displaced. If you pick up a fog machine, you can fill the trashcan with smoke and blast out rings. Here I am shooting rings of fog out into the woods!

Thanks, Larry!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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14 Comments

  1. A friend of mine did the same with a large cardboard box. To make smoke, he glued a tin plate to a little insulation, and then glued that to one inside wall of the box. Place one smoke bomb inside, and you’re good to blow!

    Aaron –
    I would wager that Larry’s device could blow out a candle from across a classroom.

  2. What’s wrong with you people?! I mean, how much pollution is in the air that you can actually *move* it!?? First rainbows…which were bad enough, but air that’s thick enough to make rings out of and throw around is too much for me. We must petition the government for immediate action.

  3. Rebecca pondered:
    In fact I suddenly had a grand idea: what if we throw a stink bomb in and THEN blast the air out? We could do it with the fog, or have an SBD (Silent-but-Deadly) version!

    Rebecca, I like the way you think. Put it on the back of a parade float, make it look like the device is propelling the float. Then stink them all out! Hooray Deviousness!

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