A (Burnt) Hole In His Hypothesis

| Learning | November 18, 2013

(Our lecturer always has practical demonstrations in his Physics lectures. Today, he has brought in some rabbit-ears to demonstrate a Jacob’s Ladder.)

Lecturer: “Alright, so the theory goes like this: if you have enough voltage, you can force a non-conductive medium to become conductive, producing an effect like this…”

(He turns knobs and flips switches on his device. A series of arcs climbs up the rabbit ears making a Jacob’s ladder, similar to a scene from a B-movie mad scientist’s lab.)

Lecturer: “Okay, so this setting is specifically tuned to the density of air. So, if I were to place a medium more dense than air—say one of your folders—between them, its higher density should stop the arcing.”

(He goes up to one of the students up front and borrows a thin plastic note sleeve with some papers in it.)

Lecturer: “So, if I put it here, it should stop…”

(He places it between the rabbit’s ears. Instead of stopping the arcs, though, it roots to one spot, and burns through the sleeve and its contents. He immediately brings it out, but it has burnt a hole approximately 5 cm in diameter in it.)

Lecturer: “Alright… obviously, the voltage was still too high. Just have to readjust it.”

(He twiddles with the device some more, and the arcs dim and slow down.)

Lecturer: *to the student* “Sorry about that, love.” *to class* “Alright, I have readjusted it and it should work as intended this time. As I was saying, a higher density should stop the arc.”

(He borrows another plastic sleeve, this one with more paper in it. He repeats the experiment, and gets the same result, this time with a bigger hole, and some smoke to boot.)

Lecturer: “Arrrgh! B***** machine.” *twiddles with apparatus some more* “Alright, this should work now. Can I borrow another folder? Anyone?”

(All the folders and books in the room disappear very quickly. The lecture runs out of time at this point, so we were unable to see if it would have worked.)

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