Sunday, March 20, 2011

Invisible Artwork

This on-again/off-again affair with Science has got to stop! Love me or leave me, Science. Just stop toying with my emotions!

I borrowed a book--once again, from the library--that sounded like it was the perfect solution to my scientific woes. It's called Science Arts and it intends to incorporate scientific principals into artistic expressions. In one day we did back-to-back "experiments" from the book and in the end, well, I think maybe Science just isn't that into me.

Both experiments involved painting paper with a specific liquid which would appear virtually invisible. Then, we were supposed to apply heat and the painting would magically appear. Only, not so much.

First, we put salt water on black construction paper. Putting it in a warm oven was supposed to make the water evaporate, leaving a beautiful crystal painting. In order to save whatever amount of scientific face I possibly can, I have photographed Vance's attempt. He saturated his paper so thoroughly, that he did get something to show up post-evaporation. Is it crystallized? Well, maybe iodized.

Next up was lemon juice on bond paper. This, I had wanted to do ever since I was a kid and read about it in Encyclopedia Brown or Nancy Drew or somewhere. (Someone had written a secret message to get someone out of jail or something like that. Okay, maybe Encyclopedia Brown wasn't actually in the fugitive business, but I just remember a letter with a hidden message is lemon juice revealed by the heat of a candle. I probably read it thirty years ago, I can't possibly remember all of the details.) Given that history, there was some pressure for success. How'd we do? Let's just say we focus on my verbal skills, shall we? Here's a photo of one sheet pre-heat and another sheet after damn near burning my house down, I held it under the iron--on the highest setting--until I smelled smoke. The difference is, well, there is no difference. They look exactly the same.

If anyone has a science experiment that they think is easy enough for me to succeed at, please let me know. Or, if you succeeded at an experiment and will let me take credit for it, even better.

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