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The Ultimate Book of Saturday Science

Book Description

The Ultimate Book of Saturday Science is Neil Downie's biggest and most astounding compendium yet of science experiments you can do in your own kitchen or backyard using common household items. It may be the only book that encourages hands-on science learning through the use of high-velocity, air-driven carrots.

Downie, the undisputed maestro of Saturday science, here reveals important principles in physics, engineering, and chemistry through such marvels as the Helevator--a contraption that's half helicopter, half elevator--and the Rocket Railroad, which pumps propellant up from its own track. The Riddle of the Sands demonstrates why some granular materials form steep cones when poured while others collapse in an avalanche. The Sunbeam Exploder creates a combustible delivery system out of sunlight, while the Red Hot Memory experiment shows you how to store data as heat. Want to learn to tell time using a knife and some butter? There's a whole section devoted to exotic clocks and oscillators that teaches you how.

The Ultimate Book of Saturday Science features more than seventy fun and astonishing experiments that range in difficulty from simple to more challenging. All of them are original, and all are guaranteed to work. Downie provides instructions for each one and explains the underlying science, and also presents experimental variations that readers will want to try.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Contents
  5. Preface
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. SIMPLE BUT SUBTLE . . . SIMPLE BUT NOT ALWAYS EASY TO EXPLAIN
    1. 1. Blunderspuds and Carrot Cannons—Artillery and Boyle’s Law
    2. 2. Mr. Bernoulli’s Pop-Up Piston—More Bernoulli Weirdness
    3. 3. The Rapid-Fire Vacuum Bazooka—Fire Projectiles or Clean the Floor
    4. 4. Single-Blade Propellers—Venetian Gondolas
    5. 5. Soda Mint Fountains—Thirst for Knowledge and Water Quenched at Once
    6. 6. The Armor-Plated Sandcastle—Gas and Sand Combine
    7. 7. The Riddle of the Sands—Weird but Beautiful Patterns Appear, All of Their Own Accord
    8. 8. Tricks of Sideways Light—Magic Mondrians and Invisible Watches
    9. 9. Sunbeam Exploders—Ray Guns Aren’t Sci-Fi Any More
    10. 10. The Dead-or-Alive Ball—To Bounce or Not to Bounce, That Is the Question
    11. 11. Cowboy Coffee—Yee Haw!
    12. 12. Electric Glue—The Modern Glue
    13. 13. Electric Gunpowder—Explosive Electricity!
    14. 14. An Eiffel Brick Tower—Eat Your Heart Out, Monsieur Eiffel!
    15. 15. Dominoids—Four-Foot Brobdingnagian Monster Dominoes Will Hit the Floor at the End of a Row of Standard Dominoes
    16. 16. Colloons—Civil and Aeronautical Engineering Combined: Neither Column nor Balloon
    17. 17. Motor Brushes—The Science of Vibration-Driven Vehicles Is Applied to a Humble Household Brush
    18. 18. A Smooth-Wheel Paddle Steamer—Invisible (well, almost) Marine Propulsion
    19. 19. A String Amplifier—The Powerful Science of Loops of String
    20. 20. The Punkah Pendulum—Air-Conditioning and Timekeeping Combined
    21. 21. The Maharaja’s Sunshade—Air in Motion Provides Tent and Air-Conditioning Rolled into One
  8. SURPRISINGLY SUBTLE . . . SURPRISES GALORE IN THIS MAVERICK COLLECTION
    1. 1. An Electric Sundial—Tired of Running to Your Cave Entrance to Get the Time?
    2. 2. The Kleenex Clock—Time from Tissue Paper
    3. 3. The Torsion Time Pencil—Peeling off Atomic Layers as Time Goes by
    4. 4. The Swell-Gel Flowstopper—Stop Water Going up Your Gas Lines
    5. 5. The Vortex Pump—Whirling Water Magic
    6. 6. Waxaulics—Hydraulics for Candles
    7. 7. Telestrings—Remote-Controlled Art
    8. 8. Squirting String—Getting String to Flow through Pipes
    9. 9. Spider Technology—The Silken Secrets of Spiderman
  9. SIMPLE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE . . . FUNDAMENTALS OF THE PHYSICAL WORLD UNCOVERED IN ELEGANTLY SIMPLE DEMONSTRATIONS
    1. 1. The Molecule Meter—I Speak Your Molecular Weight!
    2. 2. Talking Sparks—Send Messages at 186 Million Miles per Hour: See How Radio Pioneer Marconi First Sent Radio a Thousand Miles
    3. 3. Light and Lens Pipes—The Strong Focusing Principle Used in the Microscopes of Fundamental Particle Physics
    4. 4. Fire from Water—The Power of Concentration
    5. 5. The Heliracket—Waves, Molecules, and Music
    6. 6. The Helitower—The Momentum Principle of Rockets and Helicopters
  10. CLOXOTICA— EXOTIC CLOCKS AND OSCILLATORS: A CORNUCOPIA OF UNUSUAL CLOCKS
    1. 1. The Paperclip Clock—A Major Leap Forward in Horological Science, the Acme of Simplicity
    2. 2. The Micropendulum—The Prestipendulous Tick-Tock Clock
    3. 3. The String Thing—Ballet Dancing for Pendulums
    4. 4. Eddy the Coniclock—A Spinning Disk Powers a Conical Pendulum
    5. 5. The Humming Clock—Recycle Unwanted Mains Hum to Run Your Clock
    6. 6. An Hourglass Wallah—The Sands of Time Updated
    7. 7. The Knife-through-Butter Clock—Melting Time
    8. 8. Creepy Clocks and Time Pencils—The Slow Flow of Solids
    9. 9. A Polymerizing Clock—Telling Time with Glue and Chemistry
    10. 10. Delay-Line Oscillators—Pass-the-Parcel Oscillators
    11. 11. The Fan Flap Flip-Flop Clock—A Huffing and Puffing Clock
    12. 12. The Faucet Oscillator—Measuring Time with Spurts of Water
    13. 13. The Slugulator—Not an Oscillator for the Impatient!
    14. 14. The Sloshulator—Time from Waves
  11. GEEKONICS—SIMPLER THAN YOU MIGHT EXPECT, AND NOT JUST FOR GEEKS
    1. 1. The Telebubblegraph—Sending Bubbly Messages the Electrolytic Way
    2. 2. The Touchy-Feely Sensor—Putting a Number to Hotfeelingness and Coldfeelingness
    3. 3. Fire Wire—Finding Fire along a Wire
    4. 4. Electric Bubble Memory—Minute Electric Cells Keep Your 1s and 0s Safe
    5. 5. Red-Hot Memory—Binary Memory: 0s Are Cold and 1s Are (ouch!) Hot
    6. 6. Deflation Detection—Ultrasonic Tire Monitoring
  12. MAD, BAD, AND DANGEROUS—PROJECTS THAT HAVE HAZARDS, ALTHOUGH THEY CAN BE MINIMIZED
    1. 1. Deep Impact—Armor-Piercing Carrots: High-Speed Vegetables
    2. 2. The Flying Soda Bottle—A Spectacular Piece of Practical Science Using the Rapid Release of Energy from Compressed Gas
    3. 3. Oxygen Fireworks—The Greener, Safer Ground Fireworks System
  13. GREAT STUFF—BIGGER PROJECTS THAT NEED SPACE AND LARGER PARTS
    1. 1. The Helevator—The Elevator of Oz: Is It a Helicopter or an Elevator?
    2. 2. An Airbag Oscillator—Your Body Forms Part of This Ride-On Brobdingnagian Oscillator
    3. 3. A Bubble-Tube Oscillator—Trains of Bubbles Chase Each Other Upward
    4. 4. The Preposterously Big Party Blowout—The Holiday Party Favorite Scaled up to Span Football Fields
    5. 5. Pink-Noise Pipes—Make Music from Noise!
    6. 6. Turbo Panjandrums—The Auto-Unicycle
    7. 7. The Impossible Turbine—The Backward-Forward-Always-Clockwise Turbine
    8. 8. A Rocket Railroad—This Rocket Pumps Propellant from the Track as It Goes Along
    9. 9. The Hovertrain—A Railroad without Rails
    10. 10. A Jet-Wash Rocket—The Superclean Rocket
    11. 11. The Single-Helix Pump—You Don’t Need a Double Helix to Squirt Water at Surprising Pressure
    12. 12. Leonardo’s Bridge—No Nails or Screws or String: It’s Just a Subtle Stack of Sticks
    13. 13. Your Personal Hovercraft—You Have a Personal Computer, Why Not Ride Around on Your Personal Hovercraft?
  14. Tips and Tricks
  15. Old-Fashioned Units
  16. Bibliography
  17. Index