Feeds

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

The latest bombastic demo by student-pleasing UK prof

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels
How the internet of things has deep roots in the English countryside
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE
Not the worst place to be stung, says one man
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.