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Physics, Fun, and Beyond: Electrifying Projects and Inventions from Recycled and Low-Cost Materials

By Eduardo de Campos Valadares

Published by Prentice Hall

Published Date: Aug 2, 2005


“The best magic is that which involves absolutely no sleight-of-hand, only the unexpected yet natural workings of nature. Physics, Fun, and Beyond is chock full of just this kind of magic—simple yet fascinating experiments, easy to follow and colorful drawings, and fun facts. Simply wonderful!”

Roald Hoffmann, 1981 Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry


Pure Fun, Pure Excitement: You’ve Never Learned Physics Like This Before!


Physics is pure excitement: nothing’s more fun than discovering how the world works and exploring its many possibilities! With Physics, Fun, and Beyond, you’ll grab the universe in your own two hands as you build more than 110 projects that uncover the physics beneath everyday life!


Most of these projects are amazingly easy to build: all you’ll need are your everyday household tools and cheap (sometimes even free) materials. From wind tunnels to flying saucers, you’ll learn exactly how to safely build these experiments, why they work, and what they mean. Learn about all this, and more:

  • Step on eggs without breaking them...and understand the principles of material strength

  • Build the “Magic Can” that teaches you about the different kinds of energy

  • Discover why the Earth isn’t exactly round

  • Learn more about gravity, with the “Astronaut in the Elevator” experiment

  • Use pendulums to visualize radio/TV frequencies and broadcasting

  • Feel pressure by sitting on a bed of nails

  • Build hydraulic robots to discover how you can transmit and amplify forces

  • Construct wings and wind tunnels that show why airplanes fly

  • Learn about optics by making bottles invisible

  • Recreate the sun and sky to realize why the sky is blue

  • Demonstrate the “greenhouse effect” with a homemade solar heater

  • Get water to climb walls—as you understand cohesion and adhesion

  • Build “wireless phones” that capture sound and make acoustics fun

  • Create simple motors that display the basics of electromagnetism

Physics, Fun, and Beyond is for kids, teenagers, teachers, parents, homeschoolers...everyone from 10 to 100 with curiosity and a passion for discovery and new challenges!

Table of Contents



About the Author.

How to Get Going.


1. The Magic Can.

2. How the Weak Become Strong (Structuring Materials).

3. Stepping on Eggs.

4. Thin and Fat Balloons.

5. Pierce Balloons without Popping Them.

6. Stretching Carrousel.

7. A Paper Saw?

8. Globe of Death.

9. Flattening the Earth at the Poles.

10. Wild Paints.

11. Astronaut in the Elevator.

12. Washing Machine: Water Extractor.

13. The Square Wheel and Others.

14. Balloon Rockets.

15. Rockets with Chemical and Air Propulsion.

16. Water Rockets.

17. Bouncing Balls.

18. Temperamental Pendulums.

19. Hypersensitive Rings.

20. Bed of Nails.

21. Bed of Rulers.

22. The Submarine.

23. Water Amplifier (Water Transistor).

24. Hydraulic Elevator.

25. Hydraulic Robots.

26. Drawbridges.

27. Circumventing Obstacles: How Air and Water Streams Find Their Way.

28. Juggling Balloons.

29. Air Streams on Top of Cars, Roofs, and Mountains.

30. Make Your Own Sprayer.

31. Wind Tunnel.

32. Unwanted Ball.

33. Outsmarting Friction (Flying Saucer).

34. Wheel That Rolls Uphill.

35. The Ballerina's Trick.

36. The Bicycle's Trick.

37. Accelerometer.

38. Raw or Hard-Boiled Egg.

39. Hand-Operated Water Pump (Archimedes' Screw).

40. Water Fountain.

41. How to Get on Top (Brazil Nut Effect).


1. Invisible Glass.

2. Decomposing Light into a Rainbow: 21st-Century Version of Newton's Classical Experiments.

3. Challenge Your Perception.

4. Moiré Patterns.

5. Lenses Made of Air and Water.

6. The Light at the End of the Tunnel.

7. The Ghost Behind the Mirror.

8. Levitation and Cubism with a Flat Mirror.

9. Magical Theater.

10. The Miracle of the Fishes: Parallel Mirrors.

11. Kaleidoscopes Festival.

12. Dark Chamber.

13. New Discoveries with Polarizers.

14. Why Is the Sky Blue?

15. Exploring the Laser Ray.

16. Tubes of Light: Fiber Optics.

17. Slow-Motion Camera.

18. Fractal Christmas.


1. Jiggling Atoms.

2. Crushing Cans and Plastic Bottles.

3. Bending Laser Beams with Hot Air.

4. Steam Machine.

5. The Little Steamboat.

6. Burn Balloons Without Popping Them.

7. Air and Water Thermometers.

8. Full Balloon with End Open.

9. Invisible Hand.

10. Pneumatic Tire Valves.

11. Car in the Sun: Greenhouse Effect and Solar Heater.

12. Can Competition: Which Heats Up and Cools Down Faster?

13. Fog-Proof Mirrors.

14. Tying a Knot in a Stream of Water.

15. Soap Saddles? You Are Joking!

16. Racquets and Tennis Balls Made of Soap.

17. Flexible s.

18. Two-Dimensional Vortex.

19. Pass Through a Soap Film Without Popping It.

20. Non-Cutting Scissors.

21. Gigantic Soap Bubbles and Films.

22. Speeding Up Water Droplets.

23. Liquid Climbers.

24. Whirlpools (3D Vortices).

25. Outlets Clogged with Water.

26. Forcing an Egg Out of the Shell.


1. Telephone with a Wire.

2. Scratching Made Louder.

3. When Is a Pipe a Bell?

4. Tick-Tock of the Clock.

5. Wireless Telephone: Parabolic Acoustic Mirrors.

6. Focusing Sound.

7. Home-Made Variable-Pitch Whistle.

8. Sounds of Paper.

9. Secrets of the Guitar.

10. Singing Hose.

11. From Lungs to Mouth.

12. Pictures of Sounds.


1. Sticking Balloons on Walls: Static Electricity.

2. Making Water Detour.

3. Wireless Lamp.

4. Salt Water Turns into Gas: Electrolysis.

5. Electric Gates: Thermal Relays.

6. Electric Hoist: Electromagnets.

7. Chaotic Pendulum.

8. Painting Pictures with an Electric Hoist.

9. Electric Motor.

10. Crazy Toboggan: Electromagnetic Braking.

11. Magnetic Levitation.

12. Silent Radio.

13. Car Control Versus TV Control.

Patterns for Fun with Mechanics, Experiment 13: The Square Wheel and Others.

Patterns for Playing with Light: Optics, Experiment 3: Challenge Your Perception.