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What does Mozart have to do with Physics? 

Every summer I try to find one big addition to my curriculum that will make every administrator, teacher, and especially every student say “that’s cool.”  Last summer it was a Ruben’s Tube.  Believe it or not, this very safe experiment only took me a few hours and about $10 at Lowes to construct, and it was the hit of the school this past year. 

This tube contains natural gas flowing from a gas tank.  A speaker with music is then put on one end (ends have diaphragm) and the flames show the compressions and amplitudes of pressure due to the frequencies of the music.  As you may know, sound travels through waves (more specifically longitudinal or compression waves) and my students were able to determine the wavelength of a single frequency of sound by measuring the wavelength with a ruler.

My students found this both amazing as well as practical in that they could see the sounds and make real-life measurements of wavelengths and frequency calculations.  Now every time they look at their equalizer at the top of iTunes and they will think of Mr. A. and Physics.