Looking for a way to entertain or just plain annoy your friends? Then invite them over, pull out the wine glasses and perform a mind trick. Well, maybe not really a mind trick, but a trick that uses what else but science.

The ability to move an object with your mind is called telekinesis. Magicians and psychics claim to have this amazing ability… and you will too once you’ve learned the science secret behind the Sympathetic Match trick.

Take out two wine glasses, preferably the expensive kind (maybe have dinner at a friend’s house and use theirs) and fill them both equally with water. Set them close to each other and place a match or piece of straw on one. Run your finger around the rim of the other one. The stick-slide motion of your finger will make the glass sing. You may just discover a hidden talent. The motion will also cause vibrations. Tell your audience the sound helps you concentrate. Then look at the match and make it move with your mind.

The movement of the match is actually caused by a sympathetic vibration. Because you added equal amounts of water, the second glass vibrates at exactly the same frequency as the first. The sound waves produced by the first glass travel in every direction. When those sound waves reach the second glass, the glass begins to vibrate as well and the match moves. Telekinesis? Nope… just some really clever science.

4 replies
  1. Jasmine Sanchez
    Jasmine Sanchez says:

    Hi,, Mr.Spangler, I’m using this wonderful science project at school, and I think it is a very smart way to show mind control!!!!!!!

    Reply
  2. reddeh
    reddeh says:

    Its not “mind control” its just vibrations. The Frequency of the 1st glass is the same with the 2nds. Its just like the “break-the-glass-with-your-voice”. Get the frequency right,and the “passive” glass will start vibrating as well. Doh.

    Reply
  3. madison
    madison says:

    um im 13, and i already know that this is fake. they made the vibrations the same, so when you vibrate one of the glasses, the other glass would vibrate too (idk why but its sorta the same when you play violin and if one string sounds like the other, the other string vibrates too). HAHAHHA but cool trick!

    Reply

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