Amazing Super-Slow-Motion Video of Glass Drops Exploding

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

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Damned Spot
Sept. 30 2014 9:00 AM Now Stare. Don’t Stop. The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Quora
Sept. 30 2014 9:32 AM Why Are Mint Condition Comic Books So Expensive?
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal. But… What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.