Phenomena for the Curious – Helmholtz Experiment DIY-Kits

Many Suitcases Stacked on top of each other
Photo: Caroline Selfors on Unsplash

Why was Helmholtz so famous? Helmholtz drew insights from all of today's STEM sciences and medicine - subfields that he skillfully linked in experiments.

With the "Helmholtz Experiment DIY-Kits" the University of Potsdam not only wants to recall Helmholtz's many achievements, but also to arouse scientific curiosity while creating hands-on STEM education. The physician from Potsdam made inventions that we still use today and recognized natural phenomena that are so commonplace for us that we don't even think about them. Using three video hands-on home experiments - our digital Helmholtz Experiment DIY-Kits - we want to prove that Helmholtz was a genius.

Many Suitcases Stacked on top of each other
Photo: Caroline Selfors on Unsplash

Here’s Looking at you, Kid - Helmholtz's Invention of the Ophthalmoscope

Simple yet ingenious, the ophthalmoscope is one of Helmholtz's early inventions that remains one of the basic techniques of your eye doctor today.

Modern devices also work on the same principle. Want to look into your friend’s eye for a change? Explore the physics behind your eye with this Helmholtz Kit - follow the path of light and learn about light rays, mirrors, lenses & co. with this hands-on home experiment, how and why we can see at all.


Music-powered Bottle Carousel - Helmholtz and Resonance

You may not know it yet, but you are already familiar with a Helmholtz resonator: If you blow cleverly into a bottle, a tone sounds - how the tone sounds depends on the shape of the bottle, or in physical terms:

The column of air inside the bottle vibrates at a certain frequency, which depends on the shape of the bottle. Helmholtz built such an acoustic resonator to detect the fundamental tone in a mixture of different tones. But what actually happens when you play this resonant sound from a loudspeaker near a bottle? Can sound move your bottles? Dive into the "sound" worlds of Helmholtz resonators and explore the phenomena of acoustics with this hands-on home experiment.


A Power Plant Made of Yeast - Helmholtz and the Conservation of Energy

Did you know that you can build a fuel cell from ordinary yeast, which you normally use to bake cakes at home, and that it is even environmentally friendly (unlike a battery)?

200 years ago, Helmholtz described that energy can't be lost - but then why does everyone keep talking about the problem of "energy consumption"? Explore how yeast can generate electrical energy with this hands-on home experiment from the Helmholtz Experiment Kit - a technology of the future!