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The information below is intended to provide a description of the demonstration, an explanation for elementary students, and further explanation for high school students.

Please keep in mind that not all demonstrations are presented at each show.


FLYING IN MIDAIR

Figure I. Figure II. Figure III.

Description

Equipment: Wooden cube, constructed out of twelve 27 inch pieces of wood
Large square mirror (35 inches by 35 inches)

Step 1: The demonstrator is seen standing inside the cube. Slowly and almost magically, the demonstrator begins to "fly" in midair. He performs many exciting maneuvers including "pulling himself up by the seat of his pants, "the swim", and "the bird". (See Figures I., II., and III.)


Explanation

Basic Ideas: The mirror can provide very exciting optical illusions.

Step 1: The mirror has been placed inside of the cubic frame of wood. The demonstrator is straddling the mirror. One leg is behind the mirror, one leg is in front. By standing on the leg behind the mirror and lifting the other leg, it appears as if both legs are lifted. The demonstrator can then make any sort of movements he wishes.


More Specifically

Basic Ideas: The mirror can provide very exciting optical illusions.

Step 1: The mirror has been placed inside of the cube of wood. The demonstrator is straddling the mirror. One leg is behind the mirror, one leg is in front. By standing on the leg behind the mirror and lifting the other leg, it appears as if both legs are lifted. Light travels from the demonstrator's leg to the mirror. The image of the leg reflects off the mirror and then travels to the audience's eyes. The demonstrator can then make any sort of movements he wishes.


Related Topics

The following physics topics are discussed during this demonstration:

Sponsored by the Physics Department and the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education -- University of Virginia