Cool stuff from the AAAS exhibit hall.
By Margaret Harris
Human beings may have originated in Africa, but the best freebies on offer in the AAAS exhibit hall have a distinctly colder origin: Canada. Not only does the silver luggage tag (bottom left) from the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council look classy, their knit cap really scores on the usefulness front — it’s a bit chilly in Chicago this week! And as for the maple sugar candies well, I’m planning to bring this one back for physicsworld.com editor (and native Canadian) Hamish Johnston, but there’s a chance it might get lost in transit.
The prize for most frustrating freebie, on the other hand, goes to the yellow rubber ball from ITER. It’s got a mechanism inside — probably piezoelectrical — that theoretically ought to make it light up when you bounce it. However, it only seems to work when I don’t want it to — like in a seminar when they’ve just dimmed the lights.
I’m sure there’s an experimental fusion metaphor in there somewhere, but at the moment I’m more worried about getting it past airport security. If they had to confiscate my contact solution because the bottle was 18 mL too big, who knows what they’ll make of a mysteriously flashing yellow ball with “fusion” written all over it?