Tom Vales’ Demo

Tom Vales’ demonstration on radiation was very interesting to observe. He told us that not long ago people used uranium tools in their houses. Those tools were very harmful because they had toxic effects that caused radiation poisoning. However, people thought it helps them to get healthier. Tom Vales said he has tools for all body parts for such “treatment”. He presented how they work on himself (his neck, his hand, his head). Back in time when people used it, it helped them due to the placebo effect.

Placebo effect is a fake treatment, an inactive substance that can sometimes improve a patient’s condition simply because the person has the expectation that it will be helpful.

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Tom Vales brought to the class tesla coil that he built himself. It gave electricity. So every time Vales would touch the tip of it by his tubes, we could observe electricity jumping to it. He used different tubes. There were wooden ones, glass ones. The ones that were made from glass could change their colors. Moreover, he used a tube that was made from different colors glass. That was very unusual thing to watch.

Vales’ demonstration was a great blend between providing the basic information needed to understand radiation and offering a real commentary on the usages of it. The discussion of radiation has always been centered on nuclear power plants and weapons, when not too long ago the threat was often in people’s homes.

3 Possible Experiments

Liquid Heat Capacity


An object’s heat capacity describes the amount of heat required to change the temperature of that object by a certain amount. Specific heat is the amount of heat required to change the temperature of a substance by one degree (generally °C).

Liquids absorb heat in different ways. The temperature change in a particular liquid heated by conduction may not be the same trend of temperature change for the same liquid heated by radiation.

Watermelon Phone Charger

Watermelons can be used to power electronic devices, including being used to charge your smartphone. If you partially submerge a medium-sized watermelon in a bath of salty ice water and plug your smartphone charger into the rind, it’s supposed to generate enough electricity to charge your phone. It starts to work by adding more ice and more salt.

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Human Conductor of Electricity

Electrons are relatively free to jump from one atom to the next, and they’re attracted to some materials more than others. When you rub a balloon on your hair, electrons from your hair jump over to the balloon and stay there. The inside of a fluorescent tube is coated with a white material made up of phosphors. If you bombard phosphors with ultraviolet light, they re-emit visible light. In normal operation, the fluorescent tube is connected to a source of electrical current. The current supplies electrons that slam around inside the tube. Inside the tube there is also mercury vapor. When electrons collide with the mercury vapor, they cause the vapor to emit ultraviolet light, which hits the phosphors and the tube lights up. Bringing a negatively charged balloon near a fluorescent tube stirs up the electrons in the mercury vapor. This produces an electrical current, which excites the mercury atoms. The excited mercury atoms emit ultraviolet light and cause the phosphors to glow. When a spark jumps, you get a big release of energy and a correspondingly brighter glow.

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