Blowing Bubbles And Other Cold Weather Experiments

Morning Edition listeners test the physics of extreme cold with some home-made science experiments.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Many of you have been sending us pictures of experiments you've been conducting in the bone-chilling conditions.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Madison Wisconsin, where it was minus nine degrees when Lora Keuhl and her two children created their very own cloud.

LAURA KEUHL: We boiled water and then just opened the door and threw it up into the air.

MONTAGNE: Creating an ominous plume of frozen mist.

KEUHL: And it kind of - the kids were laughing because it came into our house because the way the wind was blowing. So it was like a big fog that came in.

MONTAGNE: By the way, be careful if you try this yourself. You can get burned if the wind blows the hot water back on you.

GREENE: Please be careful. In Champlin, Minnesota, Jennifer Vendel and her son blew bubbles outside when it was about 17 below zero.

JENNIFER VENDEL: And we saw them freeze in mid air. And when they dropped to the ground, they didn't break. They just rolled because they were frozen.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: Jennifer's husband, Shane Vendel, created a banana hammer

SHANE VENDEL: My grandpa showed it to me a long time ago when I was a little kid. And if you throw a banana outside when it is below zero, it will actually freeze hard as a brick and you can actually hammer a nail into a piece of wood with it.

MONTAGNE: Sara McGilvra, of Belgium, Wisconsin, and her two kids wanted to see what happens when a raw egg meets a wind chill of minus 38 degrees.

SARA MCGILVRA: We popped open the patio door and cracked it on the pavement.

MONTAGNE: Seventeen minutes later...

MCGILVRA: It was a little squishy in the middle. But it was definitely hard enough that you could pick it up and whack it on the side of the door and it wasn't going to break.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: OK, that is just plain weird. And maybe you're doing some of this kind of stuff, trying to prove how cold it is where you are. If you are, why don't you send us some pictures of your own cold weather experiments. You can send them to nprcrowdsource@NPR.org.

MONTAGNE: And, David, you know, I'm sitting here in relatively warm - very relatively warm - Southern California.

GREENE: Ah-huh.

MONTAGNE: We're talking 60, 65, 70, 75 degrees...

GREENE: Brag, brag, brag.

MONTAGNE: You know who could (unintelligible) after listening to all of these folks? I'm actually jealous. I'm actually jealous of the cold.

GREENE: Well, kind of - I'll get a video feed going.

MONTAGNE: We'll last a few minutes.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: And we can do an experiment together.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: It's cold here. Not as cold as the Midwest but cold.

MONTAGNE: Alright, OK.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: