Mobius Victrola

I’ve decided to return to my family home in Birr. I love wandering the halls and gardens. It helps me clear my head. Maybe I’ll be able to make a plan while I’m here. Father loved science too and he was always tinkering in his lab. Now, it is my lab.

This afternoon I went down to the lab to check its condition. Everything was covered with thick canvas blankets which were themselves covered with a thick layer of dust and grime. I guess that’s what happens when no one enters a room in more than four years.

The lab was magical. As I pulled away each blanket, I find my trove of treasures growing. Under one, a dissection table. Beneath another, a whole row of microscopes of varying sizes. Under another, a table full of photographic equipment. The lab seemed to go on forever with every instrument that you could imagine, including many household objects that Father had snuck down here to tinker with.

One of my favorite inventions of his was a Mobius Victrola Phonograph. He had read a paper by German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius that discussed a one sided object that lived in three dimensions. Father had created a Mobius strip out of old acoustic ribbon and connected it to a Victrola using two spindles and a foot pump. I was always amazed at how the the music never stopped, never needing to be flipped.

 

How do you make a Mobius Strip?

All you need is some paper, tape, and a pair of scissors.

  • Cut out a long, thin, strip of paper.
  • Holding it the tall way label the top left corner “A,” the top right corner “B,” the bottom left corner “C,” and the bottom right corner “D.”
  • Give the strip a twist and tape the two ends together so that “A” touches “D” and “B” touches “C.”

Here is where it gets interesting! If you start drawing a line around the strip, you’ll end up right back where you started. See, it doesn’t have a front or a back! The top and the bottom are the same with the twist in the strip connecting what was the top to the bottom resulting in one big side.

Another interesting property of the Mobius strip is what happens when you cut it. Start cutting your strip down the middle, like you are cutting two, thinner strips. But you don’t get two! You end up with a much larger, and thinner, Mobius Strip.

Posted By Astrid

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