I was invited to a party with a theme of science. I was invited to bring whatever demos I wanted. The host was one of my colleagues, and the party was in honor of a woman who is moving back to Hawai’i. She felt that science was lacking in her education and requested a physics party.
The party was two days ago.
My colleague had acquired some liquid nitrogen, so he used it to freeze cheetos, which we all ate and “breathed smoke.” He also exploded a few small plastic bottles, tossed some in the swimming pool, made ice cream with it, froze flowers and made them shatter, and shrank balloons down so that three of them fit inside a small metal pot.
He and his son had also created a small amount of thermite, leading to the quote of the evening: “Here, I’ll hold your beer while you light the thermite.” We expected bright flames and sparks, but there was little to see. Nobody got hurt!
I brought a 9-volt battery which I used to ignite some steel wool, which illustrates why you need fuses or circuit breakers in your home. I also distributed “palm pipes” which are short pieces of PVC pipe that are “tuned” to produce certain notes when one open end is whacked against the palm of your hand. Then I conducted several short tunes which the entire party could participate in performing. I also brought along my geyser kit: some string, bricks, plastic bottles, a large plastic trash can, and some dry ice. It turns out that when you fill the trash can with water, put some chips of dry ice in a plastic bottle tied to some bricks, seal the bottle and drop the bottle and bricks into the trash can, you get this: