Explosion of a Balloon Filled with Hydrogen Gas

March Meeting 2010

Six frames from a high-speed video movie of the explosion of a balloon filled with hydrogen gas


G1.0001: Physics with a Bang

Presented Monday, March 15, 2010

Heinrich Jaeger
Sidney Nagel
Michelle Driscoll
Nathan Keim
Benjamin Stillwell

Department of Physics
The University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois, 60637

The images show the explosion of a balloon filled with hydrogen. High-speed videography at a few thousand frames per second makes it possible to observe in detail the sequence of events after the balloon has been lit with a match. Note in particular that the balloon has popped and disappeared before the actual explosion unfolds.

Explosion of a balloon filled with hydrogen gas

At the University of Chicago we have developed an annual event entitled "Physics with a Bang!" aimed at the general public. This event includes lecture demonstrations (some loud, some amazing and some simply beautiful) and uses high-speed video to show details too fast to see with the naked eye. Also part of this is an open house with tours of our research institute's labs and hands-on demos for kids. In this evening's talk I will introduce you to some of the highlights and try to stimulate your own interest to develop unique outreach material to engage students and the public in the wonders of physics and how it relates to their everyday lives."

This work was supported by the NSF through their MRSEC program.


Gray arrow  University of Chicago Press Release: First Physics with a Bang Show

Gray arrow  Steven Levitt (NYTimes) about our Physics with a Bang Show

Gray arrow  Physics with a Bang Videos on YouTube

Usage Information

Reporters may freely use this image as long as they include the following credit: "Image courtesy of M. Driscoll, H. Jaeger, N. Keim, S. Nagel, B. Stillwell/U. of Chicago."

For further information, contact:
Jason Bardi
(301) 209-3091