LIGO   March 2011

Paul Doherty, Modesto Tamez


Project RAFT has hundreds of Snacks online:

The Little Shop of Physics has great explorations

Engineering Design:

Modesto Tamez  Speakers

Summer science activities by Don Rathjen, print version.

Books by Curt Gabrielson:

Stomp Rockets

Kinetic Contraptions.

Sprotating Cylinder Cut 3/4 inch diameter PVC pipes , mark both ends and spin them and rotate them at the same time. Observe the patterns on the markings and discover what is happening.

Styrofoam Planes, investigate aerodynamics.

Frictionless Airpuck : use a CD and a balloon.

Blinky Lights Use inexpensive flashing LEDs to study motion.


Seismic Explorations


Highway seismometer, record the bouncing of your car with a pen and clipboard on a bumpy road.

Live eye on quakes

Seismic Slinky

Waves on a slinky


Pasta Quake  use spaghetti to model earthquake energy.

Exploratorium Seismometer explorations by dropping a bowling ball. Also done with headphones and audacity.

Explore the seismic motion as a function of ball drop height and distance.

Eric Muller's activities

Eric's earth Science Activities

Who'se fault is it?  Model quake location finding using people.

Seismic site

Stereo Sound  Use your ears to locate a sound when someone taps a tube.


Sound Column

Sound Column exploration.

How to use the free application "Audacity" to record and analyze sounds.

Dance of the Sound Wave Have 9 people dance to show the motion of air parcels in a standing sound wave in a tube.


Outer Space

Boyling Water  Use a syringe to reduce the pressure on liquid water until it boils at room temperature.

Extrasolar planet detection  Put a coin in a balloon , spin the balloon and coin and throw them into the air. Observe the motion.

Measure the brightness of the sun. Use a lightbulb and a grease spot photometer to measure the brightness of the sun.

Measure the power of the sun.  Use a thermochromic sheet and a lightbulb to measure the power of the sun.

CD spectrometer Build a spectrometer with a compact disk and use it to observe fraunhoffer lines of sunlight reflected from white paper.(Never look directly at the sun with a spectrometer.)


"Seeing far infrared" You can feel far infrared radiation from hot objects with your cheeks and the backs of your hands.

Seeing near infrared Your eyes can detect near infrared radiation. You are less sensitive to infrared radiation so you must block out visible light to allow your eyes to adapt to the dim perception of the infrared.



Investigate a Pendulum 

Coupled Pendulums, measure the frequencies of the normal modes and the beat between them.

Pendulum Snake, Assign 9 people, one to each pendulum and have them sing a note on every pendulum swing. The spatial pattern of swinging pendulums then becomes a musical pattern of sound.

Phase Pendulum  Investigate the motion of a pendulum as it is driven at different frequencies above, below, and near its resonant frequency.

Coupled Magnetic Oscillators


Recent Science activities

Blinky Light  Use Inova Microlights as mini strobes.

Scanning probe macroscope  Use a scanned cantilever to detect invisible forces.





Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty

© 2010

4 November 2010