CERN — the European Organization for Nuclear Research

Any cooler and you'll freeze




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Liquid Nitrogen workshop performed by CERN at the Expanding Your Horizons event in Geneva (


Materials Needed:  

  • One large dewar of liquid nitrogen
  • paper cups and plastic spoons
  • raspberry yogurt (we had about 80 gr per serving)
  • gummy bears
  • marshmallows and wooden skewers
  • inox bowls and bar-b-que pliers
  • goggles for everyone
  • dish rags to keep everything clean
  • a long spoon to retrieve objects


Follows a similar structure as the "drôle de physique" liquid nitrogen workshop that CERN runs regularly for kids. The documentation for "drôle de physique" can be found under:

For the EYH 2014 session there was one activity and several demos:

  • The girls were requested to act as molecules and move randomly fast for a gas, slower for a solid (while having to hold to each other).
  • And inflated balloon was dipped in LN to see it shrink and take back its shape afterwards.
  • A water jet like Geneva's landmark, jet d'eau was produced.
  • Frozen flowers and gummy bears were smashed.
  • Levitating train from Université de Genève (contact is Olivier Gaumer <>)
  • A ping-pong ball was set to spin at high speed after ejecting evaporated LN through a pin hole.
  • Ice cream was made with raspberry yogurt using Liquid Nitrogen.
  • Liquefying oxygen outside a copper cone filled with LN; you can then burn that oxygen.
  • Dipping a resistor from a small circuit with a light bulb in LN to show that more current goes through while its resistance goes down
  • (previous years) Liquid Nitrogen fondue with marshmallows: small bits of marshmallows on wooden skewers



Liquid Nitrogen is a very cold liquid (-1960C).  When a gas is cooled down, it reduces its volume: One liter of liquid nitrogen gives 700 liters of gaseous nitrogen. Many materials become fragile at cold temperature. Different gasses become liquid at different temperatures. Cooling makes materials more conductive.


To operate Liquid Nitrogen, a cryo safety course (run by CERN ~regularly) is mandatory.


Post date: Thu, Jan 16, 2014 — 11:33
Updated date: Wed, Feb 19, 2014 — 08:22

Learning Topics

Conservation Laws
Process of Discovery