Kapitza pendulum

So you are in recent past a glorious leader of a mighty experimental lab, like myself. And then you find yourself without a lab, without students to boss around – because your lab is shutdown by a virus. What do you do? You are still the same person, hungry for power and new discoveries delivered to you daily on a platter. A combo platter… From that place on campus that is closed… Ah, damn!

Anyways, now my only lab is a bunch of lego’s and my only student is a five-year old. What can you do with legos? Oh, tons of things. For starters, you can cool them down in your dilution refrigerator! Except… Oh well.

Second best? You can build a Kapitza pendulum. What is it you may ask? It is the kind of pendulum that you shake and it stands up, seemingly defying gravity. According to Wikipedia, it is magic. It takes a five year old about 15 minutes to build, but they need a little help getting gears inside. And it gives about 3 minutes of uninterrupted joy. All in all, about 20 minutes passed, not bad! (You can enjoy this at any age and possibly for much longer)

All the credit goes to Matt A. Robertson, who designed the device and created these amazing lego instructions while working at Texas A&M with Artem Abanov. Making this project brought memories of the old days when you could just hop on a plane and visit awesome people at another campus, talk physics with them for a whole day… And they would show you their lego’s.

Technical notes for if you build this. 1) There is a link that you can use to purchase all blocks you need for this, but it does not include one – item 2730. 2) The part that sticks out to the side is a handle to hold the device. The assembly is designed for a left handed person but it can be mirrored.