Science demos your Valentine will love!

Romance is in the air! What better way to celebrate than by buying a disgusting card you’d never buy any other time of the year, then going to an overpriced restaurant with a limited menu, crammed between an excessive number of couples struggling to repair their rocky relationships… Not that I’m negative and downbeat about it, or anything.
Instead, why not wow your Valentine with a romantic science demo? Here’s three to get you started, then one gruesome one for all you anti-romantics out there too!

 

Build Your Own Flowers

Take some white chrysanthemums and split them down the stem, and then put the two halves of the stem in different coloured water. Over a couple of days, the plant drinks the water, and it travels up into the flower through a network of capillaries. And then the really cool thing; eventually the petals become two very separate tones. This is the ultimate personalised bouquet. Watch a video of it being done in action here:

 

Open the bubbly!

There is a neat and very dramatic way of opening a bottle of champagne. You just need to run a sharp knife up the edge of the bottle, and when it hits the ridge where the cork is, the whole end of the bottle will come clean off. This is because of a combination of pressure inside the bottle and weakness in the glass at the lip (around the cork) and the seam (up the bottle). This looks really dramatic and is a great way to impress! We DON’T take any responsibilities if you decide to try this on your romantic evening! See a real homemade example here:

Valentines gift with a difference

There is a special kind of paper loop you can create called a möbius strip – it is weird because when you cut it down the middle, you get only one large loop instead of two separate loops which is quite counter-intuitive. They are quite symbolic too as they have a never ending surface, which has been used to represent never-ending love! Some jewellery-makers even make then as wedding rings. If you then stick two of these loops together, one twisted to the right, and one to the left, you can cut down the middle and what you end up with is interlinked hearts. Again, you can see a clip of it here:

 

Lover’s Revenge

And on the other side of the coin – if you’re broken hearted this Valentines and want a pick-me-up, here’s our science voodoo doll to inflict away your negative emotions of neglected passion.
Using just nail polish remover, you can make polystyrene dissolve in rather a dramatic way. If you have a polystyrene head (they’re used to model wigs and hats, so do exist!), you can artistically decorate it to look like your unrequited lover. Put it in a metal or ceramic dish, and then pour nail varnish remover all over it. The reason this works is because nail polish remover contains the chemical acetone, which breaks down the polystyrene and releases all the air trapped inside it. This trapped air is what makes polystyrene so light. Watch an American video of it all going down here (it’s towards the end of the video).

 

Happy Valentines day from science made simple!

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sms group shot with props smallWe are science made simple, a social organisation which promotes science, maths and engineering in schools and to the public. You can find out more about what we do, book us live in action with one of our exciting shows, or sign up to our newsletter and find out what we’re up to!

 

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Posted in Activity, Exploring Science