DICK and RAE Physics
Demo Notebook. Reprinted on E2 with permission.
For the student at dinner:
For the Student at the Dance
- Hanging a spoon from your nose is an excellent way of demonstrating a knowledge of friction to the next table.
- Spoons themselves offer an opportunity of discussing concave and convex mirrors - use them to view the room and each other's dental work.
- Do not overlook the fork. Tie a string to its middle. Wrap the other end around your index finger, and stick your finger in your ear. Listen to the 'chimes' when the fork is bumped against the side of the table.
- A spoon, fork, and baked potato can be made into a center of gravity toy.
- Dinner-on-a-budget bunch can see if the hot side stays hot while the cool side stays cool after leaving the drive-thru.
For the Student and the Band
- Explore Newton's Big Three by dancing with partners of widely different mass. Does it take more force to steer large masses through turns? Do objects in motion stay in motion if you forget to grab your partner's hand while spinning him or her back?
- Spiked heels remind one of force per unit area.
Ethnic dances (from polkas to break dancing) allow one to study rotational inertia and angular momentum.
- A plastic mirror bent in the proper direction makes your date look svelte.
- Having bent the mirror the wrong way, you find yourself at the stag side of the dance. Entertain the other wallflowers by playing center of gravity games - lifting chairs or picking up coins behind your back.
For the Student During Band Breaks
- Budget bands can use a cardboard baffle in front of cheap speakers for hi-fi sound.
- Your Physics Olympics band can be booked for the prom.
- A pick-up band can be formed by using comb and tissue paper, straw flutes and pop-bottle chimes. Many at your table will be amazed to find that the full pop bottle produces a high pitch when blown across but a low pitch when struck.
- Your date may enjoy the resonance inside his/her head when he/she plays along with the band using his/her retainer bands.
- Place your ear on the table top and run your comb in time along the edge.
For the Student at the Restrooms
- Hold your fingers up to the light and look at the diffraction lines between them.
- Notice how your finger appears to come from the left side of the glass when you put your hand behind the water glass.
- Search the prom program with the mirror looking for names that read the same upside down, such as "ED BOX" or "DICK HOOK."
- During lulls in the conversation, try the disappearing coin trick with the water glasses.
- Borrow Joe Cool's polarized sunglasses to determine the direction of polarization of the light reflecting off the mirror ball onto the walls.
- Make paper helicopters out of the program.
- Whirl a penny around on a coat hanger.
- Show the couple you're doubling with how to make an atomizer with a straw and a glass of punch.
- The balloon decorations will produce unique coiffures when rubbed and held above the Prom King and Queen's hair.
- Organize the room to do the "wave" when the physics teacher shows up to chaperone.
For the Student on the Way Home
- On the way there, show how static charge on your comb will bend the stream from the water fountain.
- Do the toilet paper roll jerk.
- Borrow a lit cigarette from one of the delinquents and demonstrate your knowledge of the Leydenfrost phenomenon by holding it upright between your thumb and forefinger. Do not forget to wet your fingers.
- Study the coriolis effect after flushing.
A Few for the Chaperone
- Buy a heart-shaped, helium-filled balloon. Watch it move forward when you accelerate. Notice how it floats back as you bump into the police car at the stoplight. Explain the physics to the officer.
- Watch the car antenna resonance at different car speeds.
- Make a sharp turn and slide your date across the seat. Be sure to turn the correct way or your date will slide out the door! Remind your date that it was not centrifugal force but the tendency to continue in his/her natural state that brought the two of you together.
- When the car runs out of gas in a dark spot, it is time to chew a Wintergreen Lifesaver - they make blue sparks and clean the breath.
- The dollar bill reaction timer is useful to check those who make repeated trips to the punch bowl.
- A couple of mirrors taped at angles to walls form a periscope to see around corners and discover why couples sneak off down that corridor.
- Experiment to see if coffee cools off faster when milk is added right away or five minutes later. It wastes a good half hour and keeps you awake.
- Help the band set up their speakers so that there is a null point at the chaperones' table.