Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Physics on the Cheap

Curtis has a budget for outfitting his physics lab. Looking through the science supply catalog, he was shocked at the prices for some of the stuff. For example, the "Guinea and Feather Tube" to demonstrate that objects fall at the same acceleration is $67.55. All it is is an acrylic tube with a valve at one end and it comes with a coin and a feather. A basic multimeter costs $66.15. A small block of wood with a hook at one end and sandpaper on two sides is $13.50. A soldering iron is $49.00 and doesn't say that it comes with a stand.

While his budget would cover all the stuff he'd need, Curtis decided it would be cheaper, more efficient, and funner to just buy a bunch of stuff at the hardware store. So yesterday, we had a great time going up and down all the aisles of Home Depot looking for cool science. We loaded up a cart full of stuff and spent around $300. There's nothing more fun than spending someone else's money. "Ooh, that's cool; let's get six!" It's also fun watching the Home Depot guys' eyes bug out when they come to check on us and we explain what we're doing. They actually back away a few steps as if they're afraid that we're going to ask them to solve some physics equations right there in the aisle.


boxedcookies said...

Since you're now in California, are you going to rename your blog?

Lemming said...

You can take the blog out of Las Vegas, but you can't take Las Vegas out of the blog... Okay, I'm just making noise.

On another note, you've okayed everything for reimbursement? It's a great idea to save money, but some bureaucracies make it impossible, especially when they have high overheads for non-favored sources. Ick.

Wren said...

For kicks, check out American Science and Surplus:

jenny said...

Haven't decided about renaming the blog, though any suggestions are welcome.

It's a small school, so they don't have many vendor contracts especially for lab supplies. He just submits the receipts and the reimbursement gets added onto his next paycheck.