Science Experiments

Disappearing monitors - the power of polarisation

Sun, 22nd Mar 2009

Listen Now    Download as mp3 Part 1,2 from the show Stripping down Computer Science

What you Need

Sunglasses

Polarising or polaroid sunglasses (often used for driving, fishing or sailing)

A computer

A modern flat computer screen or LCD TV

What to do

Hold the sunglasses in front of you and then rotate them. Do you notice anything odd?

Try filling a sink with water. Move your head so that you can see something bright reflected in the water. Put the sunglasses in front of the reflection and then rotate them.

You can also try making an area of your monitor white, look at some transparent polythene in front of the monitor through your glasses. Now stretch the polythene and look at it in front of the monitor through the glasses. Try rotating the glasses.

What may happen

If you have the correct type of sunglasses you should find that the image from the computer screen appears and disappears as you rotate the sunglasses.

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