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June 5, 2006

Dropping caesium in water

Remember my post last week about Brainiac dropping caesium in water? I reposted my concerns to a mailing list of people who do science demonstrations, make museum exhibits, and so on, and we had a jolly little argument about whether it was plausible or not. We went roughly fifty-fifty, I think.

Then the chap who did it posted. Turns out, dropping 10g caesium in a bath of water does very little indeed, and (two years later!) they did indeed blow the heck out of a bath with stage explosives. What you see in that film is entirely faked.



Sigh too, I really thought that was a dangerous, and exciting experiment. Damn those TV types, bending the rules and making things look right rather than be right.

What’s dangerous as I see it is how much belief is placed in what appears on the square box these days, “Oh, it’s on telly, it must be true…”

I’m not sure there’s any more trust in TV than there used to be… but there may be less cause for that trust.

Myth busted!


Sky’s ‘fraud’ blown out of water By Alex Baracaia, Evening Standard 28 July 2006

A TV science programme stands accused of faking experiments to make them more exciting.

Brainiac, the award-winning Sky One series fronted by Richard Hammond of BBC2’s Top Gear, faces criticism from scientists who say its makers turn to special effects when their experiments do not work.

who cares, shut the hell up


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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on June 5, 2006 11:22 AM.

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