Laser Lighting a Jack-o-Lantern

(YouTube link)

Science teacher Bob Pflugfelder, known as "Science Bob," appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to demonstrate some fun scientific concepts. Here, he sets up a Rube Goldberg-type pyrotechnic display to show what a laser can do, culminating in the chemical lighting of a jack-o-lantern. Sweet! This is the third of three videos of his appearance; see the rest at Tastefully Offensive.

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Unfortunately demonstrations like this are near impossible to do for science outreach demonstrations shows. You can't guarantee that everyone in the audience will keep their laser safety glasses on (assuming you can get a hold of that many glasses on budget). You have to settle for doing something that fits into a box that can protect everything outside of it, although that kind of limits visibility and how much you can fit in there. But I've still seen that to be enough to show a balloon popping, or more fun, popping a colored balloon inside a transparent one.

Also means showing off the actual big lasers in use for some research projects is right out, considering most employees and research staff, outside of a short list, are barred from seeing it run for liability reasons.
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