Mains electricity, a gherkin and a fire in a bin – LIVE!

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As well as making YouTube videos about science I do live shows, as well. One of the live shows I do is called Festival of the Spoken Nerd it’s a comedy show about science starring me, Helen Arney and Matt Parker, and I thought I’d show you an excerpt egg serpt… excerpt? exce… I thought I’d show you an excerpt? excerpt…. Exc.. [cutoff] Can you please put your hands together for our experiments Maestro? It’s Steve Mould! [applause] Alright, have you ever seen this thing where there’s an ice skater And the ice skater is spinning around and then when they draw their arms in close to their body they spin even faster You seen this, yeah? It is pretty cool, but imagine setting that ice skater on fire [laughter] It’d be amazing So that’s what I want to do I want to demonstrate the conservation of angular momentum using fire and for this you need a spinning plate like this sometimes called a ‘lazy susan’ Conscientious Susan doesn’t work You need a bin like this, a mesh bin. You need a container for the fire I like to use a tea light case, so I’m just taking the candle out and then you need some lighter fluid This is the perfect opportunity to place bets amongst yourselves on how this is going to go wrong it’s not gonna go wrong, Though I do have quite a bit of lighter fluid on my hands Now, uh, there it is my So the Okay, so this fire in the middle of the bin is drawing air in from the sides and if I were to give this bin a spin then the air that passes through the mesh will be given a little kick be given a little bit of angular momentum And that angular momentum will be conserved as it travels towards the center leading to what is known as a fire tornado [audience ohs] Correct response [unintelligible]. I have used too much fuel Okay, okay So steve clearly forgot to say don’t try this at home. Oh, I clearly forgot to say do try this at home, uh, genuinely try this at home I’ve got … I mean be safe and Don’t blame me when it goes wrong But I’ve got a whole campaign to encourage people to try this experiment at home I think it’s a good one. In fact, I’ve got a logo. Yeah, there is It’s been, it’s been through a few iterations. That’s the next version. My final vote. That’s my favourite Now arguably that experiment wasn’t dangerous enough, and you deserve better so this next experiment you almost definitely shouldn’t try at home This one relates to how sodium street lights work I’m sure you’ve seen sodium street lights before they look a bit strange or at least things underneath sodium street lights look weird there’s a sort of strange yellow glow And that’s because of how they work. The way it works is if you take an atom of sodium and excite it Then an electron jumps up to a higher orbital and then when the electron drops back down again it releases a photon of light and that photon of light always has the same energy which means it always has the same color so all the photons of light coming from these sodium streetlights are exactly the same shade of yellow And this is good because it means that if you can get hold of some sodium and excite it Then you can make this same yellow glow yourself and Sodium is in salt so all you need is a salty snack. I’m going to use a pickle I’m going to excite a pickle Stevie, you’re not … you’re not gonna take it for dinner first … ? I’m gonna skip dinner and go straight to electrocution … that’s my plan. so Normally at this point I would describe how that there are some complex electronics involved and that is to dissuade you from attempting to build this at home The truth is it’s very straightforward What I’ve done is, I’ve wired a couple of nails to the mains. Okay, the odds have seriously increased on this going wrong now. [Steve chuckle] Okay. So I’ll put on my safety gloves. These protect me from over a thousand Volts … according to the website So that’s fine. Now But okay, so the thing to know … is that … … I accidentally, shut up, turned one of my gloves inside out to wash… He’s got a symmetry problem on his hands. It’s totally fine. I have two left gloves, but we can carry on It’s fine. It’s totally fine. It’s fine, so the … you know the more I use this the more it looks like a prop from Saw. This is nice Okay, so what you do is. You select the most deserving pickle Okay, which is this one and then … so that goes on here. I want to play a game No Saw fans here? Ok. So it goes on there Oh and then some juice goes in the plug That’s fine. If that happens … choose a different plug that’s fine. but you’re not trying this at home okay, so can we have the lights down, please? Thank you very much. You know that’s partly for theatrics, but partly because if this goes wrong it could be quite a somber moment Okay, ladies and gentlemen 230 Volts and a pickle So… That is the nerdiest thing you can do with a pickle I hope you enjoyed that sample, that’s actually from our DVD Full Frontal Nerdity which is 100 hours of live footage plus another eighty-five hours of specially recorded extras it also contains the director’s commentary It contains directors commentary of the director’s commentary. it’s got subtitles in English for accessibility It’s got subtitles in binary for inaccessibility. It’s got some subtitles in Klingon even, if you’re fluent it’s got special safe for school soundtrack, it’s got a American language soundtrack and it’s also available as a download in full HD. Goto to get the DVD or the download and we sell worldwide

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