Feeds

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

The latest bombastic demo by student-pleasing UK prof

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality
Life had just begun, code error means Russia's gone and thrown it all away
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.