‘Bubbleology’ enchants at Manchester libraries

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Manchester - posted Wed., Aug. 21, 2013
Keith Johnson makes snake-like bubbles that stretched as far as 10 feet long.
Keith Johnson makes snake-like bubbles that stretched as far as 10 feet long. Photos by Lisa Stone.

Bubbleologist Keith Johnson came to Mary Cheney Library on Aug. 15 to present “The Secret World of Bubbles.” He also had an earlier show at Whiton Memorial Library the same day. This was one of the featured children’s summer programs at the town’s libraries.

Johnson is from Rhode Island and travels all around New England to share the science of Bubbleology with children. “You are a bubble,” said Johnson. “If something is holding in air or any other gas, it is a bubble. You have air in you, so you are a large bubble.”

The children learned as they laughed. Johnson used humor to get the children’s attention and keep them interested. “There is a science behind making bubbles. You can put your entire arm through a bubble as long as it is wet. If your hand is dry, it will only pop the bubble,” explained Johnson. He then sprayed his hand and arm with a mist of water and then slowly proceeded to push his hand and arm into a bubble.

“You can make all kinds of bubbles at home with really cool things like spatulas, hula-hoops with handles and string on them, fly swatters with the mesh cut out and even just string tied together to make a triangle. All you need is to wet the objects with soapy water and pull them through the air. I use ‘Uncle Bubble’ because it is designed for people like me and I found it to work the best, but you can use plain dish soap or some other soapy substance,” said Johnson.

According to Johnson, a man named Tom Knotting discovered how to make a cube out of bubbles. Since all bubbles are spheres, you need to connect seven strategically placed bubbles together. In the end, you should have what looks like a cube. Johnson used a pipe-type prop to blow smoke into the center of some of his bubbles. This gave a stronger effect when he was trying to show what his sculptures were supposed to be.  He took a circular paddle that looked like a ring with a handle and began to make a pinwheel. The center of the pinwheel was filled with smoke so the children could get a good look at the sculpture. Then, he proceeded to slowly blow on the pinwheel and make the bubbles spin inside of the paddle. The audience was amazed.

Tawanda Mobley said, “I bring my children to all of the libraries events. They are always happy that they came. Tonight, I see Aniyah, Courtlan and Tariq smiling and laughing.  I know they are loving this.”

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