Feeds

Made for each other: liquid nitrogen and 1,500 ping-pong balls

The latest bombastic demo by student-pleasing UK prof

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Video It's the rare scientific mind that has the pure intellectual chutzpah to tackle a problem that has troubled boffinry since the discovery of cryogenics – namely, "What happens if you combine liquid nitrogen with 1,500 ping-pong balls?"

C'mon, don't tell The Reg that question hasn't crossed your mind. It hasn't? Well, then you don't share the experimental derring-do of Dr. Roy Lowry, an associate professor in the Faculty of Science and Technology at the UK's Plymouth University.

With the help of two stouthearted assistants, Lowry demonstrated the results of pouring one-third of a liter of liquid nitrogen – which boils at −196°C (−321°F) – into a one-liter plastic bottle, tightly capping it, placing it in a tub into which had been poured a bucket of warm water, and allowing the heat from the water to more-speedily gassify the LN2.

To better demonstrate the explosive power of that expanding gas, Lowry filled the remaining space in the tub with 1,500 ping-pong balls. Why add those bouncy li'l fellows to the mix? As Lowry explained in a video of the demonstration, "For no other reason other that we thought it would be quite nice."

And it was:

This lovely bit of "Ain't science fun?" classroom hijinx was not Lowry's first attempt to mix science with tomfoolery in the persuit of pedagogical payoff. He has also roasted jelly babies in the name of science, and set the world's record for near-simultaneous fireworks-rocket launches: 56,649.

Only a fortunate few science students have had the good fortune to be taught by a professor like Dr. Lowry, a man who understands the pure, visceral pleasure of 'splodin' stuff. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.