Crybaby combo

Here's some more fun my kids had with Crybaby eggs--cracking them open and stuffing Nerds bumpy jelly beans inside. Perfect fit!

Volunteer and get a t-shirt!

My deadline to order shirts for DC candy experiment volunteers is coming up this week. If you'll be anywhere near DC April 27-29, and can spare a few hours to help teach kids really awesome candy science experiments, please contact me before Thursday! (If you contact me later, I'd still love to have you volunteer, but I might not have the right shirt for you.) Even if you can't volunteer for us, please come see us at the USA Science and Engineering Festival at the Walter E Convention Center in Washington DC, April 28-29. We'll be doing some great experiments, including dropping Warheads in water to watch them bubble, and squashing marshmallows to make them sink. Plus you'll get to try hands-on activities like playing soccer with robots, or examining everyday objects under an electron microscope, or making flubber. And don't miss celebrity presentations by the Mythbusters team, Bill Nye, and Theodore Gray (who designed my favorite periodic table.) It's coming up--we'll see you in 4 1/2 weeks!

Pop Rocks

Steve Spangler experiments with Pop Rocks by crushing them, dissolving them in water, and dumping them in soda.

The Mystery of the Crybaby Eggs

Since we love testing sour candy, we decided that sour Crybaby eggs would be really fun for the acid test.

We cracked them open, discovered the sour powder inside the hollow eggs, and poured it into water for the acid test.

But the powder didn't seem to dissolve, and when I mixed in baking soda, there was no reaction. Why not?

I got some new powder, mixed it with water, and microwaved it, knowing that things dissolve faster in warmer water.

To my surprise, not only did the powder dissolve, but I got floating puddles on top. What was it?

See "carnuba wax" halfway down? I'm guessing that's our culprit, and that the wax has been added to the sour powder to keep it from being dissolved by the moisture in the gum. Once we had separated out the wax and dissolved the powder, it was time to try the acid test again.

This time, the dissolved sour powder did bubble when the baking soda was added. Test successful--and mystery solved.

Larry Bock invites YOU to the USA Science Festival

For the past year and a half I have been organizing the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival - the country's largest celebration of science and engineering - a FUN, entertaining, educational and FREE event.

So why have a Science Festival? Society gets what it celebrates! As a culture, we celebrate movie stars, rock stars and athletes and we generate a lot of them...but we don't celebrate science and engineering. If our country does not turn around the interest of young people in science, we will have outsourced innovation.

The Festival has kicked off this week with our Nifty Fifty Program, and will continue with over 150 FREE events for the public and Greater Washington, DC schools leading up to the Finale Expo - all geared toward sparking an interest in Science and Engineering.
You can find out all the details at:

The grand finale will be a two day EXPO at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. on April 28-29, 2012 - over 3,000 fun, hands-on, interactive activities and 150 stage shows for all ages. There will be stuff for the mildly curious to the science professional. You can learn about fun topics like the science of the magic of Harry Potter, the mathematics of jump roping, the physics of superheroes, the chemistry of Thanksgiving Dinner, the engineering of baseball bats and balls, the science behind special effects in movies, trends in Global Warming, renewable energy sources of the future.

You can operate state-of-the-art robots, laugh with science comedians, be mesmerized by science magicians and mathemagicians, converse with astronauts, Nobel Laureates, storm chasers, science celebrities like Bill Nye the Science Guy, cast members of the MythBusters, Big Bang Theory and NCIS, and even scientists of the past, fly a fighter jet simulator, enter a virtual reality environment, be a CSI agent, learn how to transform your car so it can run off a cuisinart....and you can get info about scholarships, internships, mentorship and future jobs.

I hope to see you at the Finale Expo on April 28-29!

Larry Bock
Executive Director
USA Science & Engineering Festival

Sugar in juice

Since my kids have been making Find Hidden Candy posters for their science fairs, we've been reading a lot of labels recently. Today I noticed that a 12 oz serving of apple juice has more sugar (40 g) than a can of Squirt (37 g). I guess that makes sense, if soda has been sweetened to resemble juice, but it still surprised me. Need to be aware of sugar in juice as well as soda!

Sour candy and cavities

Since cavities are caused by acid (caused by carbohydrate-eating bacteria), can acidic candy cause cavities? Dentist John Ruby suggests that it can. Read about his experiments testing the acidity of sour candy (1 g of Warhead dissolved in 5 mL water is acidic as stomach acid), and his concerns about the acid's effect on teeth here.