A Demonstration Showing Smaller Beakers of Oil Completely Disappearing Into Larger Beakers of Oil

Chief Scientist Carl Nelson of the Imagination Station in Toledo, Ohio demonstrated how progressively smaller Pyrex beakers of oil completely disappear into larger Pyrex beakers of oil, kind of like a greasy set of Matryoshka nesting dolls. This has to do with light refraction. Because both the oil and the Pyrex refract light in exactly the same way, no matter the size, the smaller beakers can hide without being seen.

They disappear because they have the same index of refraction. The oil and the Pyrex, same index of refraction, no light bending. They just disappear.

Nelson Shared This Trick and Other Invisibility Hacks on WTVG Toledo in 2014

We’re going to talk about invisibility‚Ķyou hear about that in movies and in books and let’s talk about some science of how you could actually make something invisible.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.