Saturday, November 07, 2009

Physics Flipbook

I know giant mylar balloon projects have sort of a credibility problem right now, so rather than saying I want to re-create Project Echo by launching a 100-foot diameter spherical satelloon into orbit [after exhibiting it at the Pantheon in Rome or the Grand Palais in Paris, that is], let's just say I'm researching what was one of NASA's first missions.

Which is why I keep hauling home every 1950s and 1960s space and physics book I can find, including The Restless Universe, a primer on advanced physics for the general interest reader by Nobel Laureate Max Born, which was first published in 1936 and revised in 1951.

The stark cover design won me over the second I saw it on the library sale shelf [J. Lloyd Dixon, btw.] Only after thumbing through did I see the nice line drawn illustrations--hey-o! they're moving!

The Restless Universe has seven flipbook style animations in the margins to explain various physical phenomena: gas pressure, electron orbits, Hertzian oscillation, &c. Born actually even refers to them as "films," which I thought was very sweet.

I pressed upon my astrophysicist wife to help me shoot these little films, and it's only after I uploaded the video that I realized the first three are running backwards. Also, I stripped out the audio because the helpful sound of pages flipping was drowned out by the kids' screaming battle over a hairband. Maybe I'll put it back on the DVD.