Science and beauty in a soap bubble

Chemistry in Pictures winner

Kathleen Holley, Lamar High School, Arlington TX sent in this photo of an everyday example of beautiful science. Her student Cole Thompson photographed this large soap bubble on an overhead projector during a physics lesson on thin film interference.

A soap bubble is made up of a very thin sheet of water trapped between two thin layers of soap molecules. Light reflects off the two interfaces between the bubble and the air. As a result, the light can undergo constructive and destructive interference depending on the color or wavelength of the light and the thickness of the bubble. The red regions, for example, correspond to where the bubble thickness only allows red light to constructively interfere.

Cole is one of our 2014 Chemistry in Pictures contest winners. Winning photos appear on the front covers of Chem 13 News. Start now and encourage your students to snap some photos and showcase the great things being done in your high school classroom.    ∎