Candle timing experiment

A citizen science experiment using a birthday candle and a phone.

    Background info

    I was challenged to do some science communication with a candle. I wanted to try a simple citizen science project, so that everyone else can be a part of the experiment too! So I thought of how I can learn something about candles and citizen science, and now you can learn with me! The thing I hope to learn, is if it is possible to run an experiment in this way. The thing I hope you learn, is something about candles, something about the scientific process, the fact that you can do a unique science experiment with everyday objects and a phone (seriously, as far as I can tell, no-one has done this before, perhaps there's a reason for that)! I also hope that you engage in the scientific process a little bit. Once enough data has been collected, the results will be published and advertised here: http://blogs.usyd.edu.au/kickstart/ There is a good amount of data we're collecting here, so hopefully we'll be able to find out something interesting together! Candles have been used for timers in the past, but they were custom calibrated candles. The historical candle timers were designed to show a rough passage of time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_timekeeping_devices What are we looking for in this experiment? Certainly not a new timing device, we have extremely accurate timing devices available. We will not discover a new accurate timing device to rival caesium clocks. What we will do, is participate in an online science experiment. You can do this entire experiment on one device (phone, tablet etc), the measurement, the data entry and analysis! This shows off the simplicity of this experiment, and also the complexity of our mobile devices. We can do an entire science experiment on a phone! This experiment is for everyone, but has been designed for simplicity as well as with some obvious links to the "Working Scientifically" syllabus requirement in primary and high school science. Please feel free ot send it along to anyone you think might be interested. If this works, I'll be trying it again for sure! Contact me if you have any questions or issues with the experiment kickstartphysics@gmail.com Also, feel free to take a picture of your setup and tag me on instagram @kickstartphysics, or twitter @Gordeauz Enjoy!

    Aims

    1. To find how accurately we can measure time with drops of wax from a birthday candle. 2. To try a collaborative citizen science and science communication project using online tools and mobile devices.

    What you need

    1. Birthday candle 2. Phone (or other mobile device) for timing and data entry 3. Support for Birthday candle 4. See picture below

    Birthday candle experiment set up

    Risks

    Take care when using candles. Fire is a risk! It can do some damage. Please do this experiment under supervision and make sure you have some way of putting out your candle safely. Thanks!

    Method

    1. Measure diameter, and length of your birthday candle 2. Support birthday candle horizontally 3. Light birthday candle 4. Wait for 10 drops of wax 5. Start timer 6. Count wax drops in 60 seconds 7. Extinguish candle and record results 8. Wait 60 seconds for candle to cool 9. Do the experiment again 3 more times 10. Fill out the follwing form with your data

    Your location

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    Your candle

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    Results

    Here is the results table, you won't be able to edit the sheet, but you can make a copy and do your own analysis! if you do, share it with me https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xJrQF3ma-dAwOmd4S9yt7Nq0_ZoOq896a8xKZyAQT0s/edit?usp=sharing
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    Feedback

    This section is optional, but of course very helpful!
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    Contact

    Contact me for any comments, clarification etc. You can send me photos of your set up too. Thanks so much for participating. Thanks to @kurtisbaute for the suggestion, your next challenge is on it's way! kickstartphysics@gmail.com