Apr 7 2016

Simple Science Episode #05: Sulfur

Episode #05: Sulfur!

Sulfur is one of the most abundant elements in the universe. Few materials are so linked to life and death as the humble sulfur atom. Present in every cell of our bodies, it is impossible to escape the importance of element #16 on the periodic table. Join Ratticus as he explores the physical and chemical characteristics of this fascinating element: sulfur.

About Ratticus:

Ratticus started performing in 1999 as the lead guitarist of the “Dixieland Possum Band.”  After a break of over ten years, Ratticus has returned with a passion for science education and video.  Inspired by the words of Jules Verne, Ratticus’ vision for science education is to present complex scientific principles in a clear and simplistic format while preserving the awe and wonder inherent to scientific discovery.

Everything great in science and art is simple. What can be less complicated than the greatest discoveries of humanity – gravitation, the compass, the printing press, the steam engine, the electric telegraph?     -Jules Verne

Like what you see? Follow Simple Science on Nerd Squadron, as well as Simple Science at Kilgore Laboratories!


Mar 15 2016

Electricity for Dinner

A tiny dinner is disrupted when thousands of volts dart across the table.


Feb 22 2016

Simple Science Returns With a Lesson on DC Motors

Simple Science Episode #04: DC Motors

DC motors are all around us. From our computers to smartphones to the clocks on the wall, few electric devices do not contain at least one DC motor. How do they work? Ratticus explores DC motors through a series of experiments and activities that show the complexity and the simplicity of their design. In the end you’ll have a greater appreciation for these often hidden wonders of modern life.

About Ratticus:

Ratticus started performing in 1999 as the lead guitarist of the “Dixieland Possum Band.”  After a break of over ten years, Ratticus has returned with a passion for science education and video.  Inspired by the words of Jules Verne, Ratticus’ vision for science education is to present complex scientific principles in a clear and simplistic format while preserving the awe and wonder inherent to scientific discovery.

Everything great in science and art is simple. What can be less complicated than the greatest discoveries of humanity – gravitation, the compass, the printing press, the steam engine, the electric telegraph?     -Jules Verne

Like what you see? Follow Simple Science on Nerd Squadron, as well as Simple Science at Kilgore Laboratories!


Jan 25 2016

Simple Science Episode #02: Resistors

Simple Science #02: Join the Resistance!

In Episode #02 of Simple Science, Ratticus returns to explore the world of electronics by studying one of it’s simplest components: the resistor. In Activity One, Ratticus uses a digital-multimeter to measure the resistance of several different types of resistors and makes an interesting discovery about apples. In Activity Two, Ratticus uses a homemade variable resistor to modify a simple tone generator into an electronic instrument.

Like what you see? Follow Simple Science on Kilgore Laboratories as well as Simple Science at Nerd Squadron!


Jan 13 2016

Simple Science Episode One: Steam

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Dec 31 2015

Leaf-Footed Bug

My wife found this little fellow in our bedroom, and I gave it a more dignified funeral than she would have preferred.  Preserved using ethyl acetate and mounted in a prefabricated shadow box with all proper identification.


Dec 12 2015

The Weave Wand

I created the Weave Wand by the inspiration of a coworker who couldn’t quite reach an itchy spot on her scalp.


Sep 19 2015

Preserved Octopus Beak

While visiting New York City with my wife,  we had supper at The Maze. I had the Octopus Terrine, which was neither bad nor good. The highlight of the meal turned out to be finding the octopus’ beak still intact in my supper. I spirited it away in a napkin and salted it until we got back home.  Having no real experience with octopus beak preservation, I opted to completely dry it using salt then lightly oil it using 3-In-One oil. As odd as this procedure sounds, it seems to have worked surprisingly well. There has been no degradation and the beak is still flexible under its tiny bell jar.


Jul 20 2015

Cardboard Cat Scratching Pad

I decided to try making some of these because of their price in stores and how much cardboard I simply throw away in a month. I gathered all of the cardboard boxes I could find and cut them into 2″ wide strips on an old paper guillotine. This was more labor intensive that I expected. I glued the strips together with Elmer’s wood glue and clamped them for 24 hours. I made two separate units, which seem equal in durability to the store-bought models. The cats show no preference.


Jun 30 2015

Ham Radio Coil

While shopping in an old electronics store shortly before it closed down, I found an interesting old ham radio coil that was missing a few parts. I bought it and decided that I would use what was left of the device as a pattern and recreate it. I tried making a mold of the insulators from latex unsuccessfully, and ultimately poured the mold using silicone. I cast the insulators from resin, and cut the support rings from a PVC pipe using a miter saw. Instead of the original’s steel band coil, I opted for a brass coil of the same parameters.