Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Leidenfrost Effect

I've observed this many times but haven't really thought about what is happening.  When you drop water on a stove burner that is at the right temperature, they form little beads that skitter around on the burner and only slowly get smaller.  What is happening is referred to as the Leidenfrost effect.  When a liquid comes in contact with a mass significantly higher than its boiling point, a layer of vapor insulates the liquid and prevents it from boiling, at least for a little while.

I came across this interesting video demonstrating the effect when dropping a red hot metal (Nickel) ball into water.  For a while you can see a thin layer of vapor surrounding the ball.  Eventually, the insulating effect is overwhelmed as the ball cools and the water is not vaporizing instantaneously. After this the water boils furiously.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

50 Things to do before you're 11 3/4

While looking at the UK National Trust site about Stowe Gardens I came across a National Trust website that encourages kids to get outside and experience nature.  Its called 50 Things to do before you're 11 3/4 and it uses badges and a list of activities to motivate kids and their parents to experience the outdoors.  The British always seem to be ahead of us when it comes to natural history, more walkers, birdwatchers and amateur naturalists per least it seems so to me.  Maybe there is more of an appreciation of the natural world because there is less wilderness.  In America, we have so much that it is sometimes taken for granted.

Kids are naturally curious.  The infinite variety and potential for discovery in the outdoors is the perfect place to satisfy that curiosity.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Temple of British Worthies

I checked a book out of the Library called A Global History of Architecture by Ching et al. I am reading about Stowe Gardens in England and am interested in a structure called Temple of the British Worthies - a shrine to Great Britons. There are 16 individuals depicted on the shrine among them Shakespeare, John Milton and Alexander Pope. Others like the Architect Inigo Jones I had never heard of before. When I have a bit of time I'll look them all up and see what they did . Since this was built in the 18th Century it reflects the ideals of the Age. I wonder who would make it to a 21st Century Temple of British Worthies or a Global list?

Page on the Temple and links to the other sights at Stowe

Temple of British Worthies - - 643854