AUG 30, 2016 10:18 AM PDT

Matter, Matter, Everywhere


Our bodies, our world, the air we breathe and the ground we walk on are all made up of matter. Sub atomic particles, such as electrons, protons, quarks and neutrinos are the very building blocks of the atoms that make up matter. They can't really be seen easily though, but we know they are there. A fun home science experiment to highlight these particles is a good way to explain what they are and how they function.

With a simple empty pickle jar, some dry ice, rubbing alcohol, a sponge, a marker and some dry ice, these bits of the beginning of our world can be revealed. On earth, these particles are bound to atoms and can't be seen individually. However, when stars explode in outer space, the earth is showered with unbound sub atomic particles. Here's how to see them. Take a sponge soaked in rubbing alcohol and place it in the pickle jar, the inside lid of which has been colored in black marker. Seal the lid tight and upend the jar on top of the super cold dry ice. Once it's begun to cool, small lines appear in side the jar. To see these, shut off the lights and shine the flashlight into the jar. These lines are droplets of alcohol vapor that's collided with the subatomic particles floating through our environment. It's similar to a chemtrail left by an airplane.

While physics can be complex, this very simple experiment with items found around the home can show us normally invisible parts of matter that originate from stars older than our galaxy. Mind. Blown.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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