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Everything you ever wanted in a little box
  (+13, -3)(+13, -3)
(+13, -3)
  [vote for,

Jim wants something special for christmas (it is a bit early I know but he figures the pixies need time to get it right).

He wants a box of stuff sufficient to perform all the fundamental experiments of the 18th century --- complete with instructions.

And he wants a box of stuff sufficient to perform all the fundamental experiments of the 19th century --- complete with instructions.

And he wants a box of stuff sufficient to perform all the fundamental experiments of the 20th century --- complete with instructions.

And he wants...

madness, Feb 05 2010

Magdeburg hemispheres http://en.wikipedia...gdeburg_hemispheres
Never give a Sucker an even break ... [8th of 7, Feb 05 2010]


       And 17th, 16th, 15th, 14th, 13th, ... all the way back to when banging a stick on something hollow was fundamental for making noise...
madness, Feb 05 2010

       I quite like this one - though why start as late as the 18th Century? Having had the opportunity recently to study something (maths in this instance) that I'd studied before, but this time in a historical context, I found it a refreshing and most interesting perspective.   

       Recreating experiments from past masters would be great - Galileo's balls (1602), Robert Hooke's cells (1665), Edward Jenner's cowpox/smallpox vaccine (1796) (fun for all the family), Eratosthenes' (195BC) measuring the circumpherence of the Earth using shadows and a well. But it should be evident that as we go further forward in time, the contents of these experimental boxes become ever larger and more complex (LHC-in-a-box?)   

       [edit] - ahh, you already addressed the starting point question I had.
zen_tom, Feb 05 2010

       You could re-invent the enlightenment bulb.
Ian Tindale, Feb 05 2010

       Rather than one box with all the classical experiments from a hundred year period; why not just settle for one experiment per box?   

       One issue I can think of is that, while some of the great classical experiments have easily observable results, some were tedious & painstaking searches for results:
i) Millikan's oil experiment: While away the hours taking tedious measurements to accurately measure the charge of an electron.
ii) Kater's pendulum: While away the hours measuring the acceleration due to gravity by watching a pendulum, redistributing the weights, and then watching the pendulum some more.
iii) Cavendish's measurement of the Earth's density: While awaythe hours measuring the applied force in a torsion balance caused by the gravitational effect of two large balls. Infer the Gravitational constant and amaze your friends!

       Don't get me wrong: great experiments & worthwhile learning (school) experiences. Just wouldn't want them for Christmas. Better off with a kite (and a metallic thread).
Jinbish, Feb 05 2010

       what about all those little known experiements that you never get to hear about (for one reason or another)!? btw that collider thing in France has gone mighty quiet.
po, Feb 05 2010

       I would expect the pixies to make these results evident with slightly less effort. For example measuring the gravitational constant can be achieved with less mass and more precision...   

       I like the historical context of a 100 year box because it gives a simple visual, tactile and repeatable indication of progress. Some boxes will be better than others for various reasons.
madness, Feb 05 2010

       The 20th, 19th, and probably 18th century boxes are going to be very big and very expensive. Lots of lab glassware, lots of sophisticated instruments, the occasional linear accelerator and several kilos of radioactive material in the last one.
MechE, Feb 05 2010

       [+]. I want this. I'm a bit squeamish about the human cadavers though...
DrWorm, Feb 05 2010

       //I like the historical context of a 100 year box //   

       Fair enough. Make it a collectible series of sets to make up the century and you've got my bun (as it were!).
Jinbish, Feb 05 2010

       + yeah cool, but big boxes needed!!
xandram, Feb 05 2010

       [Madness], go and tell Jim that he has finally, finally had a good idea. Before this, he was just being a complete and utter arse.   

       I think a century's worth of experiments is pushing it, but I can imagine a line of science kits for replicating individual landmark experiments from history, complete with replica(ish) historical items.   

       So, [+].
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 05 2010

       Jim should experiment with choosing a category.
normzone, Feb 05 2010

       Is this a language barrier thing or am I just stupid? I don't understand! Can anyone explain this further? Damn. I feel silly.
Pericles, Feb 05 2010

       Oooh! Ok, nevermind. I didn't notice the century difference in each paragraph describing what he wanted. Nice!
Pericles, Feb 05 2010

       Could the box contain a set of the Magdeburg Hemispheres large enough for Jim to sit in while the air is progressively pumped out ... ?   

8th of 7, Feb 05 2010

       [po] //btw that collider thing in France has gone mighty quiet.//   

       You hear any loud noises coming from that thing you turn and RUN -- do not walk -- in the opposite direction, hear?   

       Good idea, by the way. [+]
mouseposture, Feb 05 2010

       [+] obviously, but why grouped by century ? That seems rather arbitrary.
FlyingToaster, Feb 05 2010

       the box for fundamental 20th century science better be pretty big. If you don't know what should be in each box then it's not likely to be very useful.   

       A glass jar, a balance, and a handful of peas?   

       Two retorts and a piece of bone?   

       Spinning mirrors?   

WcW, Feb 06 2010


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