Tag Archives: cornstarch monsters

Steve Returns to the Ellen DeGeneres Show for 14th Appearance

What does 3,000 Alka-Seltzer Tablets, 3,000 film canisters and Steve Spangler have in common with the Ellen DeGeneres Show?

Steve demonstrated the explosive power of carbon dioxide when thousands of film canisters rained down on the Ellen set Wednesday. Cameras were covered, Ellen dressed in a rain coat, safety goggles and a hard hat and even Tony had an umbrella for protection. To say Steve blew the roof off of the Ellen Show is saying Mentos and Diet Coke make a small mess.

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Non-Newtonian Glop – Making Cornstarch Monsters

What do you get when you combine water, cornstarch, an amplifier and a speaker? (Besides a mess.)  You make cornstarch monsters.

Depending on the frequency played through the speaker and the vibrations it makes, the cornstarch will move and dance. Cornstarch is a non-Newtonian fluid which means it becomes a solid when it is under stress and a liquid when it flows. The trick is to find the right frequency that makes the best vibrations to move the cornstarch. You can actually see the sound.

This is a fun activity to take to a friend’s house and borrow their stereo equipment. For more on Cornstarch Monsters, read the experiment.

Spotlight on Graphic Designer Blake James

Q: Tell us a little about who you are…
 My name is Blake James, and I am all about creativity. I enjoy graphic design, writing/producing music, photography, and long walks on the beach!
Q: What do you do at Steve Spangler Science?
 I have the privilege of designing things like catalogs and web pages for Steve Spangler Science. I am also known in the front office for my extremely corny jokes.

Q: What do you like best about what you do?
 My favorite part about what I do for Steve Spangler Science is the environment that I get to work in. The energy in the office is always explosive (sometimes literally). The people I work with are funny, intelligent, and spontaneous. I get everything I need from the people I work with, the projects I’m working on, and even the building itself, to keep my creativity fueled all day long.

Q:  What is your favorite Steve Spangler Science moment?
 My favorite SSS moment…. it’s really hard to pick just one favorite moment! I guess I would have to say that my favorite moment was when I found out that our company was awarded Website of the Year by Multi Channel Merchant in 2009. It was an awesome feeling of achievement for myself and for everyone else on the creative team that I get to work with. However, that’s probably not that interesting for this blog post. So, let’s just say it could also be blowing up trashcans in the parking lot, lighting the photo studio on fire, or proving that the “Balloon Boy” story could not be true.

Q: What is something you wish every SSS customer knew?
 I wish every SSS customer knew how hard everyone works here behind the scenes to make sure our customers get VIP treatment. Whether it’s a customer’s order or a teacher training event, this team will bend over backwards to make sure the Steve Spangler Science experience is a good one!  I also wish that every SSS customer knew how to perform magic because I think that would help make the world a little more interesting, LOL!

Q: What is your favorite science experiment?
 My favorite science experiment would have to be “The Force of Sound” which offers a visual way to actually see the power of sound. It also demonstrates the unusual qualities of cornstarch and water, which is a fascinating experiment in itself. I also like this experiment because I had a lot of fun bringing my music experience to the table to create a soundtrack of the perfect frequency for our video guy to use in the experiment’s YouTube video. It’s always fun when we get to make our hobbies useful at the SSS office.

Q: What do you like to do when not on the job?
  When I’m not at work, I like to write, produce and perform music. I actually have a little band going on the side with the Steve Spangler Science “Copy Guy” who I get to work with on the creative team.  I’ve been pursuing music since I was in high school, and I’m not sure I’ll ever stop. I have even been known to grab my laptop and record music in my car, in the SSS parking lot while on my lunch break. I may be a little crazy about my music, but it’s definitely something that I live for!  I also like to go to Las Vegas with my beautiful wife. It’s a great escape from reality, and we go several times a year specifically to EAT LIKE KINGS!… Seriously, all we do in Vegas is eat and sleep! I’m a sucker for a tasty meal. When I’m not working on music, or enjoying an amazing meal in Vegas, I’m probably on the couch behind an XBOX controller playing Halo!

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes… Did you know that the term “pumpkin head” comes from colonial times, when halved pumpkins were used as guides for haircuts? I just thought that was extremely important, and every one should know that fact.