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My First Double-Slit Box

For your budding quantum physicist
  [vote for,

Teach your little ones the principles of wave/particle duality.

In a sturdy plastic casing, you will find your kid-safe electron emitter, a bright red plastic double-slit wall, and a set of emulsion plates (refillable by mail).

In the middle is the switch to turn on detection at each slit point. Watch and learn why when you observe it at the slit, it's a particle, and when you don't, it's a wave.

Hours of fun, and puts your little genius ahead of the learning curve when these strange things show up later in their physics studies.

globaltourniquet, Jul 27 2007

Double-slit experiment explained http://www.thekeybo...tum%20mechanics.htm
A great sort of lay description of the double-slit experiment, for curious non-physicists like me, who could have benfited from a My First Double-Slit Box as a kid [globaltourniquet, Jul 27 2007]


       [+] The sooner you can clue 'em in to the fact that the world doesn't always make sense, the better.
lurch, Jul 27 2007

       Has anyone ever built a camera which uses zone plate/Fresnel lens technology?
hippo, Jul 27 2007

       "Daddy, what's that?"   

       "This? That's a kid-safe electron emiZAAAAAP".   

nuclear hobo, Jul 27 2007

       sorry to be a kill-joy, but I don't think the kid would learn much more with this experiment than what is written in the textbooks, educational videos, software etc. The problem being that the experiment is not particularly interactive.   

       I think there are plenty of other experiments which would be more suitable to make into a toy - e.g. make your own holograms (as Ian Tindale sort of alluded to).
xaviergisz, Jul 27 2007

//The problem being that the experiment is not particularly interactive.//

True. My First Schrodinger's Cat would be better, especially if you use your own cat. Then grade up to My First Schrodinger's Baby Sister: "Mysterious deaths or quantum physics at work? Let your child be the judge."
ldischler, Jul 27 2007

       {hippo], my experience is limited to pinholes. Great stuff, wild images.
normzone, Jul 27 2007

       I was initially enthralled by physics because it was so simple and made sense. The weird stuff was fascinating later on but I think you need to be above a certain age if it isn't going to turn you off the subject totally. Subjects that make no sense tend to bore young children more than adults.
wagster, Jul 27 2007

       //Interesting point; if kids were exposed to similar complexities at kindergarten age as standard instead of being limited to what's considered suitable for their age, I wonder what effects it would have on their later education.//   

       Probably not. Kids are pretty open-minded about the world, but their minds can also be closed. Like the joke about the child who sees a woman driving a sports car completely naked, then informs his horrified mother that the woman isn't wearing a seatbelt. That pretty much demonstrates children - they think in linear, where they work within the framework provided by their parents or family - it is a Bad Thing to not wear seatbelts, but they do not yet understand the taboo of going about ones business, in public, completely starkers.   

       I think the best way to teach the young so that they can make the connections or join the dots easier is to teach them to be open-minded. There are many ways to skin a cat, and there are probably more to learn stuff. For example, I couldn't understand degrees in a circle when I was in year 5. What made me understand them was an exercise my judo teacher regularly set us each lesson. We would stand facing him, and he would say something like 'quarter turn, right, forward', and we would move a 45 degrees to the right.   

       Kids don't really have the capacity to understand complex physics, but they do have the ability to understand the game.
froglet, Jul 27 2007

       I think [froglet] should be promoted to grown-up. Or is that a bad thing?
wagster, Jul 28 2007

       // My First Schrodinger's Cat would be better // No fair, I was going to suggest this, the cat-in-the-box, like a jack-in-the-box but not gauranteed to jump out. "Now remember Tommy, before you open the box, the cat may or may not have gone to live on a farm"
marklar, Jul 29 2007


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