Here is a collection of physics demonstrations costing very little to produce yet illustrating key concepts in amazingly simple and playful ways. Intended for instructors, students, and curious lay readers, these demonstrations make use of easily accessible, everyday items: food coloring and glycerine swirled and then "unmixed" in a container demonstrate aspects of the entropy law; raw eggs thrown with full force at a sheet but not breaking illustrate Newton's second law (f=ma); and the reflection off a glass Christmas tree ball is the focus of an explanation on "turning the world inside out." Many of the demonstrations are either new or include innovative twists on old ideas, as in the author's simplified version of the classic "Monkey and Hunter" problem, which substitutes "diluted gravity" on an inclined plane for large apparatus. Each demonstration outlines the objective, the equipment needed, and the procedure, including, in many instances, ways for a teacher to perform the demonstration on an overhead projector. Throughout the book concrete examples are accompanied by enough theoretical background to enhance a reader's basic understanding of physical principles. Lab instructors will find that demonstrations containing a quantitative component work well as mini- experiments and as ways to illustrate the results of calculations. These diverse and flexible demonstrations will serve a wide range of educational levels, from middle school physical science to university physics.
Robert Ehrlich is a recently retired Physics professor at George Mason University. His current research interest is in finding evidence for the reality of faster-than-light particles—which has recently led to a new paper presenting some tantalizing results. You may also be interested in this press release and a physics colloquium based on the paper, which he would be happy to give in person at your university, his schedule permitting. Ehrlich is also interested in renewable energy, and promoting renewable energy education—see, for example his junior-level 2013 textbook Renewable Energy: A First Course, and his course web site, PHYS 331 Fundamentals of Renewable Energy.