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The Fleet Science Center presents The Secret Science of Toys Festival

Explore the science of why ten different toys spin, wobble and flip the way they do.

January 19, 2017

San Diego--Have you ever wanted to learn the science behind Slinkys and yo-yos? What about understanding the physics of the Newton's Cradle or rattlebacks? The Secret Science of Toys Festival at the Fleet Science Center will explore how and why ten different toys spin, wobble, flip and work the way they do. The festival takes place on Saturday, January 21, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., in the Fleet's theater lobby gallery. It's free with admission to the Fleet Science Center.

The festival will feature ten different tables, each featuring a different classic toy. Visitors will have the opportunity to play and interact with all the toys, exploring how they work and learn about the scientific principles behind each toy.

One popular toy visitors will encounter is the Newton's Cradle, which features five metallic spheres hanging from wires on a frame. Pulling up one sphere creates potential energy. When released, the sphere is acted upon by gravity to create kinetic energy. When the spheres collide on one end, the energy is transferred through all the stationary spheres and causes the last sphere on the other side to bounce upwards. The Newton's Cradle is a popular demonstration of conservation of energy; how energy is never lost, it's just transferred to another object or different form. It's the same concept in hitting a baseball and can be demonstrated whenever two objects collide into one another.

Another common toy visitors will explore is the rattleback. A rattleback is an asymmetrical, semi-ellipsoidal top made of plastic or wood. The odd thing about the rattleback is that it will only spin in one direction. If you try to spin it in the opposite direction, it will become unstable, "rattle," and spin back its desired direction. The rattleback's odd behavior can be traced to its asymmetrical shape. The toy can be used to explore rotational motion under the influences of friction and torque.

These are just two of the many examples of the toys visitors can explore. Other toys on display include the Slinky, Maxwell's Wheel, gyroscopes, tippe tops, yo-yos, kendamas, PhiTops, the waddling duck, the woodpecker toy, Euler's Disk and more.

The Secret Science of Toys Festival is free with admission to the Fleet Science Center.

For more information please visit: http://www.rhfleet.org/events/secret-science-toys-festival

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To schedule a media preview or live, in-studio demonstration or to arrange for media tickets to the festival, please contact Fleet Science Center Public Relations Manager Nathan Young at 619-685-5743 or nyoung@rhfleet.org.

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Select Videos of Toys Featured at the Festival

Newton's Cradle: https://youtu.be/kA2vjXHnySU

Rattleback: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmEf7aIhpF8

Slinky: https://youtu.be/eCMmmEEyOO0

Maxwell's Wheel: https://youtu.be/4KHQRCddOzY

Gyroscope: https://youtu.be/p9zhP9Bnx-k

Tippe Top: https://youtu.be/Kwihc4kbNVA

Yo-Yo: https://youtu.be/EXRiblU54E8

Kendama: https://youtu.be/TkGawXjsltc

PhiTop: https://youtu.be/1Tx7FgZuV3U

Waddling Duck: https://youtu.be/huOoqu6O-Yo

Woodpecker Toy: https://youtu.be/s3YSnNAIHDg

Euler's Disk: https://youtu.be/ug2bKCG4gZY

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About the Fleet Science Center

The Fleet Science Center connects people of all ages to the possibilities and power of science to create a better future. At the science center, you can explore and investigate more than 100 interactive exhibits that pique your curiosity and become immersed in an IMAX film adventure that shows the wonders of the planet—and beyond—in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. For young science enthusiasts, the Fleet hosts school field trips, science workshops and educational camps. For adults, we offer events like Fleet Night of Science and community events, such as Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar. In the community, we provide free neighborhood science events weekly through 52 Weeks of Science. Teachers are encouraged to join our Teacher Partner Program and take advantage of our professional development opportunities. Additionally, at the Fleet Science Center, visitors will find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store, and pizzas, sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in Craveology. Located at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd., the Fleet is San Diego’s science center. Science starts here and opens a world of possibility. For information regarding current admission prices, please call (619) 238-1233 or visit our website at fleetscience.org.