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Elliptical snooker

Big Numbers - How many grains of sand?
An exhibit about estimating big numbers.

Big Numbers - How many is a million?
A million dots to count.

Cycloid Races
Cars race down two tracks - one straight, the other in the shape of a cycloid curve - which wins? You can also race two cars down the cycloid track to find the link with a pendulum clock.

Drawing Ellipses
Use a loop of string to draw many different ellipses.

Elliptical Snooker
Playing snooker on this special table demonstrates some properties of the ellipse.

Harmonograph
A pen is attached to the arm of a pendulum. It draws on a piece of paper attached to another moving arm, producing complex and stunning patterns.

Key Question
How do locks work? We can make many different combinations of keys but only one will work.

Lissajous Figures
A laser beam traces a shape on a screen. The shape is produced by the mixture of an up and down motion and a side to side motion, each vibrating at a particular frequency. When the frequencies are in certain ratios we see beautiful patterns.

Probability (Ball Bearings)
Pour buckets of ball-bearings into this pin table. The balls bounce around randomly, but produce a distinctive 'normal distribution' shape as they pile up.

Wheels with Corners
Un-round wheels which roll well show why 50p and 20p coins work in slot machines.

 
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