Mad Science Party

Last night Michael and I participated in L.I.M.E. Charleston‘s dinner. Jonathan Kaldas from Woodlands restaurant was the guest chef for the evening, and his charity of choice was the Lowcountry Food Bank. He works with molecular gastronomy so they went with a Mad Science theme for the decor and some of the entertainment. The dinner was held at the food bank itself, which is an incredibly inspiring place to wander about.

We had an understandably light budget – the less spent means more that actually goes to the evening’s beneficiary. Science equipment is rather expensive to come by, so we opted to create our own. I came up with the idea of printing the measurement gradients on transparency film and Michael chimed in with the clingy stuff. I also came up with using the food bank’s logo on the beakers with ‘Made in Charleston’ as well. I’m not sure if anyone eating noticed, but the food bank employees caught it right away and seemed quite delighted. We scoured several thrift stores and found glasses and glass candleholders that appeared to fit the bill. We bought many of those and some metal stands in hopes of creating different levels of depth. We needed more stuff and after a slight snafu Friday afternoon, I had to pick up the rest of the glassware from one of the big box stores. We also made several tent cards, some with information on Nikola Tesla, Tesla coils, and Jacob’s ladders. We also made a batch of Ooze {cornstarch and water} to demonstrate the principals of non-Newtonian fluids. We named it Non-Newtonian No.8 and also made tent cards.

Once we staged the glassware, candles, tent cards and bowls for the Non-Newtonian No.8, we took a step back to look at the set up. We decided at that point not to use the stands. We filled most of the ‘beakers’ with neon green fluid that is simply highlighter cores soaked in water. We filled them at varying heights. Once we ran out we used a secondary color, which was blue. I thought they looked great together, and we noticed during clean up that some guests had spent time mixing the two together. Michael added some dry ice to some of the beakers during the evening.

Michael also built a new Jacob’s ladder for the event. He’s been meaning to do it, but just needed the right ‘inspiration’ to get it done. We packed several pieces from his lab including the Jacob’s ladder, two small Tesla coils, a Van de Graaf generator, a wireless set up and his power units. We had originally planned to do some Tesla demos outside during the cocktail hour, but it was too bright and decidedly a little dangerous as the guests couldn’t see the plasma and Michael as worried that one may stick their hands up to touch the toroid. During several points during the dinner, Michael provided some demonstrations. Diners were encouraged to come up and take a closer look and ask questions.

All in all, I think it was a successful evening. The diners appeared to be having a good time and hopefully learned a few things, and money was raised for a very deserving organization. How much was raised wasn’t available at the end of the evening as the costs hadn’t been fully tallied. We also gave our number out (Yup, I didn’t finish Michael’s cards) to a couple of people who said they’d pass it along to possibly set up at some upcoming events. If it happens, I’ll definitely update on that.

And now, on with the photos! BTW – we had no idea that napkins would be green! Also, behind that blue wall was the kitchen where Jonathan and his assistant were working. There were three large windows in the wall, so it was in keeping with the ‘laboratory’ feel.

Mad Science Table
{ All images click through to larger versions }

Mad Science Table

Mad Science Table

Looking toward the 'lab'
Michael keeping a very ‘serious’ face in the photo on the right.

Mad Science Table

Tesla tent card

Tesla coil tent card

On the back of the coil card was info on the Jacob’s ladder.

Mad Science Table

Mad Science Table

Our vantage point:
Our vantage point

Standup bass

Unfortunately, this the best shot of the new Jacob’s ladder. This was done during at test run. You can see the arc at the bottom.
Jacob's Ladder

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