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How to Make Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

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(Jefferson Lab Open House (2010))

Jefferson Lab Open House (2010)

Liquid Nitrogen Viewer Requests!

From time to time, people suggest things that they'd like to see placed in liquid nitrogen. Today is their lucky day!

Announcer: Frostbite Theater presents... Cold Cuts! No baloney!

Joanna and Steve: Just science!

Joanna: Hi! I'm Joanna!

Steve: And I'm Steve!

Joanna: From time to time, people suggest things that they'd like us put in liquid nitrogen.

Steve: First thing is Oobleck!

It wiggles and it jiggles! And now, we're dunking it in liquid nitrogen!

Joanna: Someone else suggested that we put in a CD.

First, you'll notice that it kind of hovers and it doesn't really sink. That's because so much gas is being created. But, as it gets colder, it starts to sink.

Next, dry paper.

And, wet paper.

And, last, but not least, a pencil.

Steve: Okay, let's check on the Oobleck.

It's, aaah, no longer wiggly, no longer jiggly. If we drop it, it breaks, which isn't really surprising considering it's mostly made out of water.

What we'll try, though, is... put the bits and pieces back in the bag, assuming I can pick them up. And then we'll put them in this nice, warm beaker of water, and let it thaw out and see if it becomes... if it comes back to normal again once it's warmed up.

The CD, assuming I can fish it out of here... We do have something recorded on it, but right now it's sort of warped. So we'll give it a few minutes to warm up before we try to play it.

It doesn't break, which is, I guess, good news for the CD. But, we'll let it warm up first while we check the other things.

Joanna: Let's see.

The dry piece of paper... There's not a lot of moisture in paper, so... not too much happens. Actually, it wrinkles like a normal piece of paper. A little cracking, but, otherwise, not too much damage.

Let's see what the wet piece of paper does...

Ooh!

Steve: Wow!

Joanna: Now, it crumbles! It's because there's so much moisture in it.

Steve: It's just like a flower, isn't it?

Joanna: It is! Lots of crumbling!

And last, let's see what the pencil does. The pencil's basically just dry wood, so you basically have a very, very cold pencil.

It should still write, which it does!

But, it won't really erase as well.

What the eraser will do, however, is shatter!

Steve: Okay, the CD... Looks like we've warmed up enough where it's no longer warped.

We get to use the ancient computers. And, in this case, it's nice that they're ancient because we still have an optical drive with them.

Big question is, "Does the thing play?"

Announcer: Frostbite Theater presents...

Steve: There's the voice of our lovely announcer. Well, maybe not lovely, but of our announcer.

Joanna: It does.

Steve: So, the CD still works nicely.

Joanna: And now, let's check on the Oobleck!

Looks nice and normal. And, it is! It's the happy Oobleck we remember! Jiggly, stretchy, fun to play with!

Joanna: Thanks for watching! I hope you'll join us again, after a pregnant pause, for another experiment!

Steve: Congratulations!

Joanna: Thank you!

Steve: Now, we have to get rid of this, of course.

Joanna: But, we still have Oobleck to play with!

Steve: Yay!

Joanna: Yay!

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