Extreme Science: The Science Of Magic - Dime In A Glass - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Extreme Science: The Science Of Magic - Dime In A Glass

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The Science of Magic: Dime in a Glass

What you will need:

  • Tall clear drinking glass. Preferably plastic.
  • One shiny dime
  • “Clear” balloon. Found at 50% of card shop. They sell them in their bulk bins at about 16 cents each. You may want to grab a couple extras.
  • Scissors
  • Adult supervision.

** Caution: Do not do this experiment if you are allergic to latex.

Procedure:

1) Carefully cut the “mouthpiece end off of your clear balloon. Basically, cut the straight section off of the balloon where it just starts to get bigger and round.

2) Using both hands, stretch your balloon far enough out so that you can actually see right through it. While holding it out tight, place the dime under the stretched out balloon and push it upwards while slowly releasing the “stretch” of the balloon. Your dime should end up getting stuck in the balloon with the balloon stretched tight over the top of the dime.

3) Carefully stretch the balloon over the opening of your drinking glass so that it “looks” like the dime is sitting on top of the latex. You do not have to stretch the balloon over the glass very tight, just tight enough to keep it smooth.

4) After you have your glass set up, go find someone to do the trick on.

5) Lightly place your finger over the edge of the dime as if you are holding it from falling off and show your audience that there is a dime on top of the latex which is stretched out over the glass.

6) Stand the glass upright on the table and ask a volunteer to come up and carefully place their index finger over the dime.

7) Tell them that on the count of three, you are going to magically make the dime pass right through the latex and end up in the glass so you will need them to quickly push the dime through the latex when you get to three. Begin counting “one, two, three!”

8) At this point, your volunteer should have pushed on the dime hard enough for it to come out of the outstretched latex and land inside the glass. Ask your volunteer to check the latex for any holes and ask how they think you were able to get the dime to pass through the latex with there being any hole.

What is going on?

Magic is just really cool science! Most magic tricks are illusions. An illusion is something that tricks your brain so you “think” you see something happen that really didn’t happen. By using the clear balloon, when you stretch the latex far enough that you can see through it, then pressing the dime in from the underneath side, the latex is so thin over the top of the dime that your volunteer will not even notice it. Dimes are normally shiny so it doesn’t appear any different. Actually, your volunteer will not even feel the latex over the dime when they place their finger over it. Since the latex is a polymer, it is made up of long chains of molecules which makes it stretch. The cool part about latex is that it will go back to its original size once the dime is pressed out so they will not even see where the latex had been stretched out over the dime. Since the dime was actually on the bottom of the latex (even though it appeared to be on top) when they pushed on it, all it did was fall out of the latex and into the glass so it didn’t have to have a hole to pass through. By placing your finger over part of the dime at the beginning of the trick and tipping the glass sideways to show your audience the dime, you are also giving the appearance that the dime is sitting on top of the latex. Truth is, you could tip the glass sideways and the dime wouldn’t fall but your audience would know that something is up because gravity should make the dime fall off when you tip the glass sideways. Magicians are master illusionists and whether they know it or not, they are using science in each of their tricks.

Try this:

Do you think that you could do this trick with any other colored balloon? What about using a penny instead of a dime? Would it look as realistic as the clear balloon stretched over the dime?

Next time you are watching a magician perform, try to figure out the science behind the trick. Please do NOT ruin the magicians tricks or performance though!

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