From the "Lincoln Courier" July 15, 2011
'Nitro Joe' dazzles
Demonstrates the wonders of air at LPL
By Jean Ann Miller
Posted Jul 15, 2011 @ 06:01 AM
Science was the topic of Thursday’s summer reading program segment at the annex of Lincoln Public Library.
“Nitro Joe Science” was on hand to give kids a lesson in air and what you can do with air pressure.
Joe Higgs of St. Louis is “Nitro Joe,” and his goal was simple: to teach basic science.
“You can’t see air, but you can use it,” said Higgs to a roomful of elementary school-aged children eager to see what they could do with air.
Warning that science is not magic, he turned two pieces of rope into a box of Tide laundry detergent.
“Magic is about tricking people and science is based on fact,” said Higgs with a smile.
|“Nitro Joe Science” demonstrates the wonders of air and air pressure to a group of elementary school-aged children at Lincoln Public Library Thursday. Photo by Jean Ann Miller/The Courier|
Higgs talked to the kids about air pressure and gave an example of how it works when riding to the top of a hill in the car or even riding on a plane and experiencing a popping in their ears due to a change in air pressure.
He also talked about air pressure when dealing with a hot air balloon, but used a plastic bag as the example and a heat gun to warm the air inside the bag.
“If you notice, when air gets hotter it expands,” said Higgs.
Nitro Joe then explained the Bernoulli’s principle, which helped the audience members understand how an airplane flies. For this example, he brought out a vortex ring and created tornado donuts from slicing the air.
The level of excitement inside the library was audible when Nitro Joe brought out a roll of toilet paper along with a leaf blower and explained more about vortexes.
He next showed the attendees an air cartridge that was filled with carbon dioxide.
“This cartridge has enough to fill 25 balloons,” said Higgs.
“It’s nothing more than science,” he said.
From the "Olney Daily Mail" June 18, 2009
Nitro Joe gives peek at science behind the magic
By Kevin Ryden
Olney, Ill. -
Have fun they did during Nitro Joe's show, which mixed entertainment and educational lessons. On his business card, Nitro Joe, who is from St. Louis, dubs himself as an "Edu-tainer."
He began by explaining that he does not perform magic tricks, but shows the science behind tricks, such as paper going up in flames and then seemingly disappearing. However, the "paper" was actually something magicians call "flash paper," which emits light and heat but not smoke and ashes. Those four properties are present during a chemical change, he said.
Nitro Joe spoke in a booming, authoritative and sometimes silly voice to get his point across. He also used some cool props.
The power of dry ice, which has a temperature of -109.3 degrees and can freeze fingers in 2 seconds, was shown. Nitro Joe asked the curious crowd who wanted their nose to be put on the ice. As he jokingly moved with the ice toward the audience, many of the children scooted back.
Instead, he used a quarter, and said George Washington would use his nose. The quarter shook in the dry ice and it froze to its surface.
Nitro Joe also discussed the effects of sublimation and carbonation and used a bottle of baby shampoo and carbon-dioxide gas to make bubbles. Children reached out their hands as he walked around the room, passing bubbles through a tube.
"A bubble is nothing more than soap stretched around air," he said.
He also demonstrated the power of air by blowing a leaf blower at children, who squealed and laughed for several minutes.
"All of this is just old-fashioned, basic science," said Nitro Joe at the end of the hour-long program. "We're just looking at in a different way."
Kevin Ryden can be reached at email@example.com
Decatur-Macon County Fair - June 9-14, 2009
This was my first county fair, and I must say that it was an experience.
It was a great experience for everyone who had an opportunity to experience the kind of fun science can engender.
(Photo by Mike Patton)
A little slime on the nose is something that few kids, like Hannah, will ever forget.
From the "Collinsville Herald" Jan. 28, 2008
It’s not magic, it’s science!
| The students at Nelson Elementary School may have thought they were witnessing a magic show Tuesday, but Joseph “Nitro Joe” Higgs was actually performing science experiments.|
“The whole goal is for the kids to see that science is a lot of fun and these are eye-popping, interesting things that they can do,” Higgs said. “(Science) seems boring because there’s a lot of book work, but this is the end result. This is the ooh and aah factor. You always want the oohs and the aahs.”
Marissa Vickers photo Joseph “Nitro Joe” Higgs demonstrates science experiments at Nelson Elementary School.
The entire presentation kept the children captivated, and they seemed to especially enjoy the experiment Higgs calls “water into juice.” He used three clear chemicals – sodium hydroxide, phenolphthalein and vinegar. Higgs said the phenolphthalein is a base indicator that turns purple in the presence of a base, which is the sodium hydroxide. After he mixes the two together he adds the vinegar, a strong acid that neutralizes the base, to make the liquid turn clear again.
* Removed at the request of my previous employer.