The Electric Magnet Show

Scientific Sue received the honour of performing this show as part of Institute of Physics Tyndall Schools’ Lecture Series in 2015

Join Scientific Sue on this historical and energising scientific journey and find out about some of the really cool science and engineering behind the music industry.

This show is aimed at audiences of 8+ years. It covers 2600 years of scientific discoveries based on electricity, magnetism and electromagnetism which ends with us all partying to the sounds emanating from Scientific Sue’s old record player.

To begin with we have to focus on FORCES and what forces can do – we then find out how the invisible electric and magnetic forces can be used to, first of all make items levitate, then how we can visualise the effects of these magical forces and finally how they can be used to create vibrations will ultimately lead to sound.

How can a straw be turned in a musical oboe? What happens if the length of the straw is changed or if a paper cup is added to the end?

What is a gramophone? A record player? How do they work?

For students 15+ this show can be extended to cover Electro Magnetic Induction.

200 years ago Scientific Geniuses such as Volta, Orsted, Ampere, Sturgeon, Ohm and Faraday brought the ideas of electric charge, electric and magnetic fields, triboelectricity, electrostatic discharge and induction to the scientific table – these forefathers of science are the ones who are responsible for what Sue considers to be ‘the’ major event of the 20th Century, the invention of the Electric Guitar!

A simple electric motor made using a key, battery, magnet and length of wire – the snail acts as a load as well as bringing a wee bit of humour to the sketch.

Static electricity demonstrations making objects fly and levitate are explored using a Van de Graaf machine, a Wandarama stick (supplied by Sue) and balloons.

Electric guitars revolutionised the sound of music and they are the very definition of rock music.

Please note this show can be adapted to suit all audiences.

Technology Rocks Tyndall 1

The science and engineering used in this show can be used to make amazing Jitter bugs, robots and other critters.

This show covers the following themes and topics:

  • Science behind an electric guitar (optional)
  • Energy and energy changes
  • Static, DC and AC electricity
  • Force fields: gravitational, electric and magnetic
  • Sound: pitch and loudness
  • How loud speakers work
  • How motors work
  • How electricity is generated
  • The impact on engineering and technology on our lives today