Making Bubble Magic

Published 10:49 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2010

WESSON – If the yo-yo would have held Tom Noddy’s attention, henever would have become the Bubbleman.

“When I was a kid, some kids were good with yo-yos, so I took upthe yo-yo, and I worked with it and learned all the tricks I couldfind, and then I got bored with it,” he said. “It was keeping mehome at night.”

Then he tried the “wonder paddle,” with the ball on the elasticstring attached. That didn’t keep either.

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“But bubbles, I never got bored of bubbles,” he said. “I sawnature doing all these amazing things.”

Noddy, who has been the master of the bubble for 38 years now,performed at Copiah-Lincoln Community College Monday night for anaudience of all ages, and all of them were as excited about thelittle soapy spheres as he was.

“Can you make a spider out of bubbles?” one child asked.

Another asked if a bubble could be made with no air.

“Well, I have thought about that a lot, because if you blow abubble in space, the soap film could never keep the air from thevacuum there,” he said. “You’d have to make it from somethingstronger, like steel, and that’s what they do. They make steelbubbles and put air in them and put guys in them, and they’re spacestations.”

While he made spectacular bubble shapes, like carousels, koalabears, and different geometrical figures filled with smoke, Noddytalked to the audience about some of the science involved inbubbles. He also kept them laughing.

“There are so many bubbles on the planet, and most of themaren’t round,” he said. “You can see it if you just sit and stareinto a bunch of suds. But if you do that for too long you’ll gocrazy. I know.”

He told the audience that bubbles are actually much moregeometric than they seem.

“They’re kind of roundy at the top, but where they’re touchingother bubbles, there are all these angles,” he said.

Noddy also addressed grownups’ natural aversion to bubbles,pointing out that children will take the slimy, slippery littlebottles the bubbles come in and run around with them and they’llspill. He said nobody should ever get too old to enjoy bubbles.

“You’d spill it too, if you’d just play!” he told the parents,then advising them to get their children a large, flat-bottomedbowl to blow their bubbles from so that they can’t carry the sudsaround with them.

Noddy was invited to Co-Lin as a part of the Lecture Series.Science Division Chairman Dr. Kevin McKone said he was excited tohave Noddy there because not only could he bring some interest inscience to children, he could also bring some childlike wonder tothe adults.

“There’s a lot of math and physics that go on with bubbles. Andit’s amazing how excited he gets about blowing bubbles,” McKonesaid. “It even spilled over to me.”

Vice President of Instructional Services Dr. Jane Hulon saidCo-Lin is trying to find ways to get children involved in thesciences at an early age, and programs like Noddy’s are a good wayto pique that interest.

“This is a wonderful program for student outreach, to getelementary children interested in science,” she said.

Videos of Noddy’s performances are available