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Geeks have strange hobbies. Staff physicist Paul Doherty plays the corrugated plastic tube, also known as a “whirly,” and explains the surprising science behind the sound.

Exploratorium staff physicist Thomas Humphrey divulges a clever way to measure the speed of sound, and he explains how he’s used that information to measure things in the world.

Our host, Stephanie Chasteen, shares some more fun facts and activities having to do with the science of sound.

An introduction to how to make your own simple speaker, which transmits sound from a radio or MP3 player and demonstrates the principles of electromagnetism and vibration.

A detailed demonstration of how to make a cup speaker, including a discussion of materials needed.

The science behind the Cup Speaker activity, including how electromagnets work, and how in this activity the magnet pushes the bottom of a cup back and forth, vibrating the air and creating sound.

Senior Staff Scientist Thomas Humphrey invents a simple experiment to see if the Giant Mirror is spherical or parabolic, and then to see if it's perfectly spherical. By placing a Styrofoam ball at the center of curvature, he's able to prove that the mirror is out of pure sphericity by about one-quarter of one degree.

Staff Neuroscientist Richard Brown demonstrates that the Giant Mirror reflects infrared radiation as well as visible light.

An introduction to the Ice Balloons activity, in which learners explore globes of frozen water and learn how to ask and then answer 'investigable' questions.

A detailed demonstration of how to do the Ice Balloons activity, including a discussion of materials needed and strategies for getting learners to ask and then investigate questions about what they are seeing.