Today we went to our local cultural center where Concordia university students were demonstrating some of their projects and research. They had all sorts of exhibits including physics, biology, chemistry, electricity and art. The whole show was for kids but some of the exhibits were interesting for the big kids as well.
One that I enjoyed was the floating Coke can. One student had a wooden box set up so you could see through it and in the middle was a floating Coke can. You could reach in, grab the can and pull it out. There was nothing in the box, no wires or anything. Then you just place the can in the middle, let go, and voila! The can is floating again. Of course it used magnets and sensors to tell the magnets when the can was floating. The can itself had the bottom removed and a sensor and a magnet in the can too. The actual box was packed with sensors, magnets and wires but the effect was simple and stunning.
It looked like a simple wooden box with a cutaway and a can floating. The fact that anybody could touch and hold the can and then make it float added to the magic. Nobody noticed the hollowed out can but did assume it used magnets somehow. The student at the booth was justifiably proud of his setup and explained it to all.
There were many other interesting exhibits including a bacteria exhibit where I was very close to (but didn’t touch) an E.Coli petri dish. There was also a lot of dry ice, robots, lights and fossils. At the crime scene forensic table, I took off my glasses and said dramatically “this looks like…a crime scene.“, put on my glasses as a button and heard a very loud “Yeeeeeaaaahhhhhhhhhhh…” in my head.
My little girl enjoyed many exhibits including the prisms and light one and the “ridiculous robot” crafting table where she made her own robot craft.
One other exhibit worth mentioning was the dancing spider robot. One student had built a spider looking robot that actually danced to the beat of some very old cheesy songs. The songs “Ice, Ice, Baby” and “Beat It” added to the kitsch factor which made me smile as the robot gyrated and danced around the table.
All in all, a fun day with science!