The Leidenfrost Effect

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License: Creative Commons Attribution The Leidenfrost Effect The HotBuds
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18 Jul, 2010


An introduction to the wonderful Leidenfrost effect.

Director's Notes:

Team The Hotbuds write:

One day in Physics class we accidentally discovered you could get beautiful standing wave patterns on a drop of water on a very hot plate. This film gives an introduction to the wonderful Leidenfrost Effect.

The film was made by 16 students (aged around 16) — only three appear in the film, but everyone helped, as did their physics teacher.

Winner, IOP Best SciCast Physics Film (ages 16+), 2010

SciCast Notes:

I’ve a confession to make:

Right at the start of SciCast, we were looking for a slogan. Something that encapsulated what we hoped to achieve with the project, but also that explained it. I found myself typing ‘Short films, real science’, and we liked the shape of that so much it ended up in the rather dashing project logo. Hence, you see it everywhere, on posters and postcards, on the reports we send to our funders, on the pin-badges and T-shirts we have, and so on. It’s up there in the top corner of this page.

It’s never been quite true, of course. ‘Short films,’ sure, but what’s real about the science? Is a demonstration with a known outcome ‘real science’? Surely ‘real science’ means experiment, observation, constructing theories, finding something new?

This film: bingo.

As it played in the awards ceremony I could hear mutterings of ‘It’s good, but why did it win?’ — replaced immediately by ‘OK, that’s why it won. Coooooooool!’.

I’m gutted that the team couldn’t be in London to see the reaction to their film, nor to collect their award in person. A crying shame. But I’m delighted that they won their category. Other films might have been slicker, or clearer, or funnier… but they didn’t start from something we’d never seen before.

— Jonathan