June 9, 2006

A toast to the alma mater with singing wine glasses

Copyright © Cornell University

There was a levitating beach ball. A fluorescent tube that glowed without being touched. Big poofs of liquid nitrogen vapor in perfect halo-like rings, shooting out from a wooden box into the audience.

Phil Krasicky has accumulated a giant bag of tricks over his years as a senior lecturer at Cornell, from gyroscopes and oscillators to pendulums and jumping pie pans. And he brought them all to Schwartz Auditorium for a stunt-filled lecture to alumni on the first day of Reunion Weekend on Friday, June 9.

Some audience members were alumni from the 1960s. Others were a few years short of kindergarten. They all had -- well, a blast.

The biggest hit, by far, was Krasicky's finale: Cornell's Alma Mater, played in harmony as Krasicky rubbed his fingers over the rims of more than 20 wine glasses: a counter full of them, each perfectly tuned (with a turkey baster) with just the right amount of water.