Saturday, March 23, 2013

New iTunes Icon

Just a quick post to put up the new icon as demanded by iTunes... has to be larger so I made a new one and hosted it here...

Just remember, most updates go to first!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Gone to YouTube!

My deepest apologies for letting this languish, but for those seeking more information about the current developments of Science Theater... there really haven't been any. However, what there has been, has been put up on YouTube.

Consider this blog no longer in service. The "official" Dr. Carlson's Science Theater site is still around, just visit:

For the most current/recent/updated videos and other comments, visit my YouTube channel:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Entropy - Episode 39

Entropy. It's why everything seems to break down and get messy. It is something that comes about when you have lots and lots of little things (like atoms) that can be in several possible "states" (no, not Florida). The more things or more states you have, the more entropy you're going to have. Dr. Carlson has entirely too much fun playing with coins and blocks while he tries to explain how Chemists think of Entropy. (Stay to the end and you'll even see a rubber band, whee!)

Science Theater Episode 39: Entropy

Friday, January 16, 2009

Walking on Water - Episode 38

Winter is in the air, and it's cold out on the lake making it pretty easy to walk on water. Dr. Carlson visits his parents and takes time out to explain some cool science concepts that can occur when your lake freezes over. That's right, Dr. Carlson freezes his tooshie, just so you can expand your mind!

Science Theater Episode 38: Walking on Water

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle - Episode 37

Physics tells us that you can't know exactly where you are and where you are going at the same time! Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle explains that you can't measure a particle's exact velocity and location, Dr. Carlson takes on the challenge of explaining it all in this special, third anniversary, episode of...

Science Theater Episode 37:Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Particle Experiment - Episode 36

Pity the poor high energy particle physicists. In order to perform an experiment, they have to destroy whatever they're looking at. Dr. Carlson explains how experiments on tiny particles are tricky. It's not easy to run experiments on things that are smaller than your tools.

Science Theater Episode 36:A Particle Experiment

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Quantum Mechanics - Episode 35

Can you change reality just by looking at it? Dr. Carlson says no! Watch on to see just what we mean when scientists talk about observers determining reality in this down-to-earth explanation of Quantum Mechanics.

Science Theater Episode 35: Quantum Mechanics

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Brainteaser 02 - A Straight Line

Is the best path between two points a straight line? The second video in our brainteaser series challenges the viewer (you) to predict and explain any differences in the path of two rolling balls. Can you figure it out before the episode is over?

Science Theater Brainteaser 02: A Straight Line

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Brainteaser 01 - Rolling Uphill

Do you have what it takes to explain science? Try to explain how this object actually rolls uphill in this episode. This video is the first of several Brainteaser episodes where you, the viewer, are presented with a problem and are challenged to explain the science behind the solution by the end of the episode.

Science Theater Brainteaser 01: Rolling Uphill

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Sweat Episode - Episode 34

Yes, he's done freezing by boiling before, but this time Dr. Carlson uses liquid nitrogen, a special tube, and a little water to demonstrate the power of sweat!

Science Theater Episode 34: The Sweat Episode

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Making Clouds - Episode 33

How to make a cloud in a bottle in four easy steps. Dr. Carlson takes on a giant glass ball of green liquid in an attempt to eplain how clouds are formed. In a never-before seen feature, this episode even includes Director's Commentary for the first segment. Yes, it's a feature, not a bug.

Science Theater Episode 33: Making Clouds

Feel free to drop by our home page at!

Note, technically this episode is 33b, as it takes the place of The Sweet Spot - Episode 33, removed due to a few mistakes in the science of hitting balls with bats.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fluorescence - Episode 32

Fluorescence, it's almost as hard to explain as it is to spell. Dr. Carlson explains how his favorite color (neon) is such a shiny glowy thing and how detergents can get your clothes "whiter than white!"

Science Theater Episode 32: Fluorescence

Feel free to drop by our home page at!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Liquid Air - Episode 31

Liquid air? Once Nitrogen gas becomes really, really cold it becomes a liquid. Once you have really, a really cold liquid, you can use it to make other things cold. Really, really cold things behave differently. Join Dr. Carlson to find out how cold things behave in...

Science Theater Episode 31: Liquid Air

Feel free to drop by our home page at!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

States of Matter - Episode 30

Sure, gas-liquid-solid... you've seen it all before, but have you seen air as a gas, air as a liquid, and air as a solid? Dr. Carlson explains the three most common states of matter and shows off how to make a snowcone out of Nitrogen gas.

Science Theater Episode 30: States of Matter

Feel free to drop by our home page at!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Interview with a Scientist - Marc Caffee (Part 2)

We're back at PRIME lab to take a look at the giant particle accelerator. Learn the process of taking a glacier rock, pounding it to smithereens, and then shooting it down a beam at hundreds of miles an hour, just to count how many atoms of Beryllium are inside the rock! A little bit of science for everyone: Chemistry, Physics, and Geology!

Science Theater Interview 06: Marc Caffee (Part 2)

Science Theater Interviews: Real Scientists, Real Science

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Interview with a Scientist - Marc Caffee

There's nothing like taking tiny little bits of rock and smashing them with Cesium to send them on an electrical journey at ultra high speeds. That's just what happens in the particle accelerator at Purdue's PRIME Lab. In our most recent Interview with a Scientist episode, Prof. Marc Caffee explains how he can find the age of asteroid rocks from outer space or determine how long ago rocks were exposed from glacier movement.

Science Theater Interview 05: Marc Caffee (Part 1)

Science Theater Interviews: Real Scientists, Real Science

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Center of Mass - Episode 29

When does a tower tip and fall? When its center of mass is no longer over its base. Dr. Carlson plays with blocks and walks the plank in order to illustrate the power of center of mass.

Science Theater Episode 29: Center of Mass

If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to visit my new home page at:!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Interview with a Scientist - Ken Ritchie

Lasers and bacterial cells - they go together like peanut butter and jelly. Prof. Ken Ritchie, Professor of Physics at Purdue uses lasers to "light up" individual molecules on the surface of cells. By taking pictures and videos of these cells he can study cellular processes that help single cell organisms build their membranes and orient themselves in their environment.

Science Theater Interview 04: Ken Ritchie

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mirrors and Images - Episode 28

Mirrors don't let you see things that aren't there, they let you see things from an entirely different position! Your image in a mirror is what someone else would see if they were standing behind the mirror. It's all a matter of tracing the path of light from your eye to an object, or from the object to your eye.

Science Theater Episode 28:Mirrors and Images

If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to visit my new home page at:!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Doppler Effect - Episode 27

When cars go screeching by your ear, their pitch changes due to the Doppler Effect. See and hear the Doppler Effect explained before your very eyes! Learn how the Doppler Effect even helps astronomers look at stars.

Science Theater Episode 27:Doppler Effect

Also, check out our new home page at:!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Waves - Episode 26

Waves of light, waves of sound, waves of water, waves of fire. Wait, waves of FIRE? Check out the three main categories of waves, and try to guess where waves of fire fit into the mix...

Science Theater Episode 26: Waves

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Interview with a Scientist - Erica Carlson

What does a condensed matter physicist study? Floating magnets for one. In our second interview segment, Dr. Carlson meets Professor Carlson to discuss her research. Prof. Erica Carlson discusses her research on one-dimensional electron gasses (and how it applies to superconductivity!)

Science Theater Interview 03: Erica Carlson

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Electricity - Episode 25

Electrons and protons are tiny, but they can move large objects! Watch several demonstrations showing the power and behavior of electrons, electricity, and their response to electromagnetic waves.

Science Theater Episode 25: Electricity

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Angular Momentum - Episode 24

Ice skaters spin faster by hugging themselves tight, but what does that have to do with riding a bicycle? In both cases, the law of conservation of angular momentum is in effect. Watch a few more angular momentum examples!

Science Theater Episode 24: Angular Momentum

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Eddy Currents - Episode 23

Sure, Spiderman can stop a block of falling metal, but so can science! Find out how magnets force electrons to move around in little circles, which can cause a falling piece of metal to slow down and nearly stop. Magnetic brakes on your roller-coaster, anyone?

Science Theater Episode 23: Eddy Currents

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Interview Special Part 2 - Daniela Bortoletto

Prof. Bortoletto gives us a tour of her lab where they construct tiny chips used in particle accelerators to detect high energy particles. You've heard the theory, now see the hardware!

Science Theater Interview 02: Daniela Bortoletto (part 2)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Special! - Interview with a Scientist - Daniela Bortoletto

Tune in to hear an interview with a real, live high energy physicist! In the first of an occasional series, Dr. Carlson sits down with an actual Physics professor to discuss her research. This week, we meet Prof. Daniela Bortoletto and discuss her search for heavy particles (including the Higgs particle and heavy Quarks).

Science Theater Interview 01: Daniela Bortoletto (part 1)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Shoot the Monkey - Episode 22

Dr. Carlson shoots a monkey in this classic demonstration of two dimensional motion. If you want to hit an object that is about to be dropped, do you aim above, at, or below it? The answer is a few short minutes away.

Science Theater Episode 22: Shoot the Monkey

(No animals were harmed in the making of this film...)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Motion in Two Dimensions - Episode 21

If you can drop it, you can throw it. Dr. Carlson throws stuff around to show how projectiles fall. (Also known as 2-dimensional motion)

Science Theater Episode 21: Motion in Two Dimensions

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pendulums - Episode 20

Dr. Carlson faces down fear and speeding bowling balls in an effort to demonstrate his faith in Physics and Pendulums.

Science Theater Episode 20: Pendulums

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thermal Conduction - Episode 19

Ever boil water in a paper cup? The power of fire and flames is harnessed to explain how heat can move around in:

Science Theater Episode 19: Thermal Conduction

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Buoyancy - Episode 18

Why do you feel "lighter" when you are floating around in a tub of water? What does that have to do with bringing home balloons in your car? Find out the answers in:

Science Theater Episode 18: Buoyancy

Monday, November 13, 2006

Can't see the videos?

If you are having problems viewing the videos, be sure to have the newest version of Quicktime installed. The videos are all in the MPEG4 format, which should be viewable with the freely available Quicktime player.

Thanks for watching!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Bernoulli Effect - Episode 17

Want the fastest way to redecorate a tree using toilet paper? Use Science! Specifically, use the Bernoulli Effect - one of the principles involved in helping airplanes fly!

Science Theater Episode 17: The Bernoulli Effect

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Circular Motion - Episode 16

What do merry-go-rounds have to do with artificial gravity? Lean about the science of spinning when Dr. Carlson talks about circular motion and the centripetal force.

Science Theater Episode 16: Circular Motion

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fun with a Vacuum - Episode 15

If you have an empty jar, is it really empty? Take all the air out of it and you have a vacuum. When the pressure drops due to a vacuum, everything begins to behave in strange ways. Watch and see!

Science Theater Episode 15: Fun with a Vacuum

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Inertia, Newton's First Law - Episode 14

If you want to move it, you have to push it! Things don't change their movement on their own, and scientists often call this the Law of Inertia. Watch as Dr. Carlson shows off an amazing series of demonstrations where things don't move!

Science Theater Episode 14: Inertia - Newton's 1st Law

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Return of Density - Episode 13

Some things float in water and others sink, but can the same thing both float and sink? Better yet, Dr. Carlson demonstrates water that sinks in water.

Science Theater Episode 13: Density Changes

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Density - Episode 12

Long-time viewers realize that Dr. Carlson is dense. In this episode, dignity is again laid on the line as we find out exactly how dense is... Dr. Carlson.

Science Theater Episode 12: Density

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Thermodynamics and Temperature - Episode 11

Is nothing as thrilling as watching ice melt? Why do metals feel cold, while wood feels warm to the touch? All this and more in...

Science Theater Episode 11: Thermodynamics and Temperature

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Welcome to 2006 AAPT visitors

I recently travelled to Syracuse, NY to present a short paper on podcasting science content at the AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers).

For those who attended my talk (and any other curious folks), you may download the powerpoint file, which contains all the links necessary to set up your own (free) podcast...

Thanks for visiting, feel free to browse past videos or subscribe (to the RSS feed through iTunes or some other reader) to be alterted to future ones!

-Dr. Matt J. Carlson

Here is the powerpoint of my talk: 2006_AAPT_Podcasting_Summary.ppt

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Concentration and Reaction Rates - Episode 10

Making Elephant Toothpaste is as simple as mixing two chemicals - causing an explosion of foamy science goodness. We take a look at two reactions with hydrogen peroxide to see how the concentration of H2O2 affects the rate of the reaction.

Science Theater Episode 10: Chemical Reaction Rates

Friday, July 07, 2006

Newton's Third Law - Episode 9

How can a rocket engine lift itself off the ground? Push a wall and you will be pushed back. Newton's Third Law of Motion states that every force has an equal force applied in the opposite direction. If air, trapped in a fire extinguisher, is "thrown" backwards by releasing it, Dr. Carlson can be pushed forward by the blast - his very own jet-car!

Science Theater Episode 9: Equal and Opposite Force

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Special Edition - Orange Crush Chemistry

Who doesn't like a student pep rally? See the amazing blue colors turn orange! Marvel at the amazing orange colors turning blue! In this film, recently recovered from the archive, we see how science can have just as much orange and blue school spirit as the next subject!

Science Theater Special Edition: Orange Crush Spirit Chemistry

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Packing Peanuts - Episode 8

The mystery of styrofoam packing peanuts is revealed in this shocking episode demonstrating.... hmm, well it demonstrates cool stuff. After all, if you can't dissolve packing peanuts when you feel like it, what's the point of science anyway?

Science Theater Episode 8: Packing Peanuts

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Free Fall - Episode 7

What does it feel like to float in outer space? How do satellites orbit the Earth? These mysteries, and more, are explained in this short video about gravity, orbits, and free fall.

Science Theater Episode 7: Free Fall

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Freezing by Boiling - Episode 6

It seems unnatural, but the laws of physics don't lie. Liquids require heat to boil, and if the conditions are right one liquid can be boiled in order to freeze a second. Under a vacuum, the water in an acetone/water mixure can freeze while the acetone boils.

Science Theater Episode 6: Freezing by Boiling

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Temperature - Episode 5

Hot stuff and cold science explain temperature and its affect on chemical reactions. Crowd-pleasing lightsticks make their return in this episode focusing on temperature.

Science Theater Episode 5: Temperature

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Air Pressure - Episode 4

Can-crushing, balloon-inflating, juice-box-drinking action in this study of air pressure: how it happens, what it is, and why.

Science Theater Episode 4: Air Pressure

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Protein Folding - Episode 3

Eggs turn white when fried because their protiens are unfolded by the heat. Much of your body is made of large molecules called proteins that can perform chemical reactions. Proteins are like long strands of pearls that can fold up into balls in order to their job. Changes in the environment (like heat) can change whether proteins fold.

Science Theater Episode 3: Protein Folding

*As an aside, my PhD thesis research focused on this very topic.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Photons of Light - Episode 2

LEDs and photosensitive paper show light be a particle in this demonstration explaining how light comes in little "packets" that we call photons. Colored LEDs make phosphorescent paper glow only if their color (frequency) of light is high enough in energy.

Science Theater Episode 002: Photons of Light

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Welcome to this Blog. It is intended to be used to propagate my biweekly science tidbits entitled:

Dr. Carlson's Science Theater

If you're curious, I am a High School Chemistry and Physics teacher in the Lafayette, IN area. The "Dr" in my title is not a medical doctor, but I did receive a Ph.D. in Computational Biochemistry at Caltech in Pasadena, California.

I hope you enjoy the videos and maybe even learn something in the process!

Episode 1 - Mixing Light

Liquid light can be mixed to create pure white light. In the premiere episode, "lightstick juice" is used to demonstrate how red, green, and blue light can be mixed to create white light. All it takes is a few colored light sticks, a knife, and a paper towel...

Episode 1