Festival of Physics

The Festival of Physics, at which I was a volunteer demonstrator, was covered in the Dispatch (Oct. 21, p. B1). I realize I should have posted this a long time ago.
The Tesla coil was the most visually captivating of the demonstrations I did; it was responsible for some of the “sparking wires” mentioned in the article. Some of the children (and a few adults) were quite amazed by the sparks and by gas tubes that were illuminated by the coil. The tubes were similar to neon lights and filled with different gasses. The energy was transmitted by the coil via electromagnetic radiation with no wires. Some of the younger children did not like it because it was quite loud.I also did several demonstrations on the “forces between magnets and metal.” To me, the most interesting was dropping a strong magnet though a vertical aluminium tube. The eddy currents in the aluminum slowed the decent of the magnet by a surprising amount.

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