Thursday, March 20, 2008

Phonofone by Science+sons

In an age of electronic amplification, we've forgotten the power of the simple physical amplification of a sound wave, which used to be the only kind available. scienceandsons remembers:

"Through passive amplification alone, These unique pieces instantly transform any personal music player + earbuds into a sculptural audio console.
Without the use of external power or batteries, the Phonofone inventively exploits the virtues of horn acoustics to boost the audio output of standard earphones to up to 55 decibles* (or roughly the maximum volume of laptop speakers)
Upon connecting active earphones to the Phonofone their trebly buzzing is instantly and profoundly transformed into a warm, rich and resonant sound."

Unsustainable by Greetje van Helmond

Jewelry from saturated sugar solutions, by Greetje van Helmond, via dezeen.

This is the same procedure used for making rock candy, an edible science experiment popular in elementary school classes. Crystals, of course, are simply highly ordered arrangements of atoms or molecules. Once the molecules have begun assembling in an orderly fashion, other molecules will continue adding to the same scheme, it being energetically favorable to continue the existing pattern rather than to fall apart into randomness. Thus the formation of larger and larger crystals. The cords so cleverly used by Greetje simply provide a scaffolding for this natural process to occur.

You can do this in any sort of container you happen to have lying around, but Greetje uses actual chemical glassware. A set-up like this is mundane to scientists but often seen in popular culture as something sinister...bubble bubble toil and which wild-eyed scientists concoct foul brews of death and destruction. I love that here, the lab instruments grow objects of delicate beauty.