Kitchen Science Experiments

Lighting bulbs without wires

Sun, 13th Apr 2008

Listen Now    Download as mp3 Part 1,2 from the show The Science of the Sun

What you Need

A balloon

A normal party balloon

An energy saving bulb

An energy saving light bulb

What to do

Wait until it is very dark.

Rub the balloon on your hair to charge it up.

Wave the charged part of the balloon back and forth near the light bulb... what happens?

What may happen

You should be able to see the light bulb lighting up as you move the balloon!  However,  if you keep the balloon still nothing will happen.

The effect is easy to see with the human eye, but not quite bright enough for video cameras.  We've been able to use an image intensifier to make this video, which is why it looks so 'night vision' green.

Wellcome Trust
EPSRC
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Genetics Society