Posted by: Carl Blesch | April 30, 2011

One-on-one Physics – Prelude to the Popular Faraday Physics Lecture

Jon Mayes sandwiched between two beds of nails

A highlight of winter holiday season at Rutgers is the annual Faraday Christmas Children’s Lecture – a show that dazzles young and old alike with exploding hydrogen balloons, frozen flowers shattering like glass and a daring professor blasting himself across the room on a rolling cart, jet-powered by a fire extinguisher.

An encore presentation of that popular lecture starts at 2 p.m. on Rutgers Day, in the Physics Lecture Hall on the Busch Campus, a few steps off the Engineering Quad in the direction of Frelinghuysen Road.

Warming up before the lecture are physics students giving Rutgers Day guests one-on-one explanations of the lecture’s various antics. Jon Mayes reclined on a bed of nails and a fellow student put another bed of nails atop him – a student sandwich. Two other students stepped on him, demonstrating that when there are a lot of nails, the pressure on any one nail is not that great, and thus there is no threat to Jon’s well being.

Mayes explains to a young guest how he survived being sandwiched in the beds of nails

At a table near the lecture hall entrance, Kennard Bowden demonstrated electricity and magnetism to a young guest who watched a metal disk wobble down a copper ramp, and later saw a larger metal disk break-dance atop a plate of copper cooled to subzero temperatures by liquid nitrogen.

An aquarium half-filled with water played visual tricks, with playing cards disappearing when dunked into the tank – demonstrating how light bends in water.

Enjoy the show!


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