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Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Halloween Physics: Haunted Science Lab

By October 18, 2006

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From Frankenstein to Dr. Jeckyll, the Ghostbusters to Flatliners, the merging of science and haunting images has a long history. Over the last three years, Arbor Scientific made use of this to write a series of Halloween-related articles focusing on how to create a "Haunted Science Lab." These and other resources provide a series of optical illusions, tricks, and genuine science that are perfect for creating the spooky mood of Halloween for your little mad scientists - or even big mad scientists. Some of the effects listed below can be created quite simply, either with common home materials or materials that are easy to find around a science lab, while others require a bit more preparation.

Relevant Arbor Scientific CoolStuff Newsletters

Issue #11, Oct. 2004 - Haunted Laboratory I

  • Mirrorly a Ghost
  • Apple Oscillator
  • Pumpkin Pendulum
  • Ghostly Apparition
  • Spooky Anamorphic Art
  • Reverse Masks
  • Ectoplasm
  • Magic Wand
  • Ghost Brains
  • The Indecisive Skeleton
Issue #16, Oct. 2004 - Cool Slimey Stuff
  • Slime Recipe
  • Easy Slime Alternative Lab
Issue #21, Oct. 2005 - Return of the Haunted Laboratory
  • Professor Zepf's tips for the Haunted Lab
  • Freaky Faces
  • Monsters of the Deep in a Drop of Pond Water
  • Pepper's Ghost
  • Ghostly Messages
  • The Oozing Flesh Display
Steve Spangler Science - Halloween Science Recipes
  • Real Slime!
  • Dry Ice Fun
  • Instant Worms
  • Halloween Smoke Ring Launcher
  • Elmer's Glue Slime
  • Dry Ice Bubble
  • Bleeding Paper
  • Quicksand
  • Screaming Cup
The Physics Teacher - "The Haunted Physics Lab" by Thomas H. Zepf, Creighton University, Omaha, NE

Also, read about the Northern Illinois University Haunted Physics Laboratory, for a nice description of the mood created by such an event.

Image: Distributed for use through GNU Free Documentation license, by creator J.J. through Wikimedia Commons.


As another Halloween treat, the following article, available only to subscribers of the American Journal of Physics, details how to use Jack O'Lanterns to explore photometry.

American Journal of Physics - "Jack O'Lanterns and integrating spheres: Halloween physics" (subscription only) by Lorne A. Whitehead & Michele A. Mossman, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

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