Amazing Super-Slow-Motion Video of Glass Drops Exploding

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
June 1 2013 8:00 AM

Prince Rupert’s Drops. Exploding.

Prince Rupert's Drop exploding
I've seen things you wouldn't believe...Prince Rupert's Drops exploding off the shoulder of Orion...

Photo by Destin Sandlin, from the video

I was reading one my favorite science blogs, It’s OK to Be Smart, and was amazed by a video about something I’ve never seen or even heard of before: Prince Rupert’s Drops. These are tear-drop-shaped glass blobs with long, thin tails, made by dropping molten glass in water. They’re interesting, but when you try to shatter them, they become holy-cow-where-has-this-been-all-my-life amazing.

The video is from the remarkable Smarter Every Day video series. This is one of those rare times I don’t really need to explain anything; the host does a great job taking care of that. Watch the whole thing. It’s truly cool.

Advertisement

[Update (June 1, 2013 at 23:00 UTC): It has been brought to my attention that at about the one minute mark in the video, the host uses the word "pansy" to describe someone else in the video. This word has negative connotations in the gay community; it's been used as a homophobic slur in the past and many in the gay community are offended by it. I was unaware of its use in the video when I posted it; I simply missed it. I certainly don't endorse the use of words that marginalize groups of people, and I apologize for that. I will keep the video up, because its scientific value is high, but also because it's already started a dialogue here (and on the original YouTube page) which can help open up more understanding.]

[Make sure you have it set to the highest resolution.]

How about that? Glass is a fascinating subject, but I literally had no idea about this. So look at that: I learned something, and it’s OK to be smarter every day.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 8:32 AM Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy—and a Mess. Can the Movies Fix It?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 20 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Red Planet and the Comet
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.