Niels Bohr Tower

The Van de Graaff generator

Lightning and sparks are usually fascinating as well as frightening. Usually you stand miles away looking at the thunderstorm through windows. At the Energy Museum you can explore small and bigger sparks at a close range without danger. A guide from the museum make daily demonstrations during weekends and holidays there will be several demonstrations each day. Ask at the entrance. The demonstration is in Danish but there will be hands out in English explaining what goes on during the demonstration.

The Van de Graff generator belongs to the museums’ collection. It was built at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen and was in use from 1954 until 1996. It was primarily used for experiments in the field of nuclear physics. In 1975 the son of Niels Bohr, Aage Bohr, was awarded the Nobel price of physics along with the American Ben Mottelson. Their new discoveries within nuclear physics had been done with this Van de Graff generator.

At the museum the generator is used for making high voltage and sparks like the light of a thunderstorm – generating a tension around 400.000 volts. You can watch the sparks and the pieces of tinfoil affected by the electric field around the generator.

The Tesla coil

The Tesla coil is a transformer which runs on 230 volt AC with a fuse of just 15 amperes. The electricity is transformed into 1.000.000 volt which runs on top of the coil. When the guide is working the Tesla coil you can watch sparks of 2 metres and you can watch how conduction channels are made in the air by the electric charges.

It is fascinating and frightening.

The Tesla coil is one of Nicola Teslas many inventions. He invented the coil in order to introduce wireless communication. He dreamt of transmitting energy as well as information by his coil. At his laboratory in Colorado he was able to send wireless messages over a distance of 1000 kilometres.

The museums Tesla coil was constructed by Finn Hammer.

Demonstrations at the Niels Bohr tower in Danish (with hands out in English)

Daily - 12.00
Weekends and holidays - 13.00 & 15.00

The demonstration takes about 30 minutes