Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

The Hidden Complexities of the Simple Match – Science Take

Watch more with these video collections:

Schlieren flow visualizations illuminate a world of activity that we almost never pay attention to, even when we’re causing it to happen. Simple things like breathing, sneezing, clapping hands, or just producing heat from our normal human body temperature can be seen with this surprising technique.

We’ve watched Schlieren videos of matches being struck and lit before, yet the hidden complexities within fluid dynamics can make these experiments feel fresh with each new example. From The New York Times:

Schlieren imaging requires a light beam in which the rays are all parallel to each other. Deflected in the right way, the light reveals differences in the density of the gases in the flame…

If the patterns in the flame seem incredibly complex, that’s because they are. The mixing of the gases is an example of turbulence, which the Nobel Prize winner Richard P. Feynman called “the most important unsolved problem of classical physics.”

To better understand how these visualizations are made, watch this next: Skunkbear’s What Does Sound Look Like?

Also in the archives: more fluid dynamics, more Schlieren imaging, and more videos from NYT’s Science Take.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.