The Theorist's Lab
I have shamelessly lifted the name from the webpage of my friend
Abhishek Dhar (Raman Research
Institute, Bangalore). The essential feature of the experiments in
a ``Theorist's Lab" are that they should be simple, table-top experiments
that even a butter-fingered theoretical physicist (like yours truly) cannot
mess up. Ideally, the experiments should be useful from the point of view
of both research and teaching. Admittedly, it is hard to come up with experiments
that are at the cutting-edge of research, and yet simple enough to demonstrate
to the audience in a popular talk - but that's the goal. Fortunately, it
is still possible to do this in statistical physics!
For starters we have decided to build a pattern formation setup. With the
help of Nikhil Ram Mohan, a Std 12 student from Pune, we set up an arrangement
for performing Belusov-Zhabotinsky reaction on a gel. The two photos below
(taken by Nikhil) shows spiral waves that occur as a result of the reaction
in a petri dish.