Transcript: Ooblick | Apr 30, 1990

(music plays)

Outside a diner, a man reads the paper, another man juggles and a magician plays tricks. The name “The science Café” appears in neon lights on one of the windows. Inside, the waitress shows a menu that reads “The Science Café proudly offers food for thought. Science demonstration from Ontario Science Centre. Heavy Air. Presented by Kim Humphreys. Producer and director: Michael Kushner. Researcher: Wally Longul.”

A caption reads “Kim Humphreys. Ontario Science Centre.”

Kim is in his late thirties, clean-shaving and with short receding light brown hair. He wears a blue polo T-shirt.

He stands next to a table with a large glass tray full of cornstarch and water.

He says HI, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
SIMPLE EXPERIMENTS
HAVING TO DO
WITH PRESSURE.
AND TODAY'S EXPERIMENT
IS ACTUALLY
VERY SIMPLE IN ITS
SET-UP BECAUSE ALL
WE'RE USING IS A LITTLE BIT
OF ORDINARY CORNSTARCH,
WHICH YOU CAN BUY IN
YOUR GROCERY STORE.
AND THE OTHER THING
YOU NEED COMES
RIGHT OUT OF YOUR TAP;
IT'S JUST WATER.
NOW, WHAT WE'VE DONE IS
MIX SOME CORNSTARCH
AND WATER TOGETHER.
YOU MIGHT HAVE DONE THIS
BEFORE, FOR EXAMPLE,
WHEN MAKING GRAVY.

The caption changes to “Ooblick.”

He says JUST ADD A LITTLE BIT OF
WATER TO THE CORNSTARCH
UNTIL YOU GET IT SO
THAT IT LOOKS LIKE
IT'S GOING TO FLOW.
IT'S A VERY UNIQUE
COMBINATION OF SUBSTANCES.
SOME SUBSTANCES, WHEN YOU
APPLY A PRESSURE TO THEM,
CHANGE THEIR STATE.
IN OTHER WORDS, THEY
CAN CHANGE FROM A SOLID
TO A LIQUID OR
TO A GAS.
AND WITH THIS SUBSTANCE,
IT'S NORMALLY A LIQUID,
BUT WHEN YOU APPLY A
LITTLE BIT OF PRESSURE,
IT TURNS INTO A SOLID.
AS LONG AS I
MAINTAIN A PRESSURE
ON THIS PIECE OF
CORNSTARCH AND WATER,
IT BEHAVES LIKE A SOLID.
BUT, IF I LET GO,
RELIEVE THAT PRESSURE,
YOU CAN SEE THAT
AUTOMATICALLY
IT BEGINS TO
FLOW, WHICH IS
A CHARACTERISTIC
OF A LIQUID.
I'LL DO THE SAME THING,
JUST BY PRESSING
WITH MY HAND ON THIS
VAT OF CORNSTARCH.
YOU CAN SEE THAT RIGHT NOW
IT'S VERY LIQUID LOOKING,
BUT IF I PRESS WITH
MY HAND ON THERE,
YOU CAN SEE THAT ALL
AROUND MY FINGERS,
IT'S BEGINNING TO DRY
OUT AND LOOK VERY SOLID.
SO, AS LONG AS WE'RE
APPLYING A PRESSURE TO IT,
IT TURNS INTO THIS SOLID.
BUT, ONCE YOU RELEASE
THAT PRESSURE,
WE GET THE LIQUID-LIKE
BEHAVIOUR AGAIN.
NOW, YOU CAN EVEN
DO SOME THINGS LIKE,
IF WE WERE BRAVE ENOUGH,
WALK ACROSS THIS VAT
OF LIQUID AND YOU
WOULDN'T GET WET AT ALL.

He walks over the substance.

(music plays)

A slate appears with the caption “For more information read: Doctor Zed’s Dazzling Book of Science Activities by Gordon Penrose and Linda Bucholitzs-Ross. Copyright. Copyright. 1987. Greey de Percier, for Owl Magazine. To make Ooblick, mix 250 millilitres of cornstarch with 200 millilitres of water.”

Another caption reads “A production of TV Ontario. The Ontario Educational Communications Authority. 1989.”

Watch: Ooblick