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Dandelion on Fire!

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It all started with a Pinterest photo....

A photo that has proved very popular across the social media network of Pinterest (If you don't know what Pinterest is I explain it at the bottom!). The photo is a shot of a dandelion that has been lit on fire (See it here:  ) . It shows the different colors that occur while it burns. Well....curiosity got the better of myself and two other SEED Staff members, Richard and Stephen.  We have talked for weeks about how cool it would be to see if we could replicate the results of this picture made famous by social media.  Today we finally took the plunge to see if we could!

The soccer (sorry, football!) fields outside of our office had plenty of dandelions for us to use for this "experiment".  We gathered our dark background to capture the best photo, about 6 dandelions, and a lighter.  PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT RESPONSIBLE ADULT SUPERVISION! I feel this must be said, there is fire involved and we took precautions to make sure we had a safe outdoor environment. We tested out how fast a dandelion burns on one of our test subjects. WOW! In a flash it was over. We knew it would take some high speed photography to capture this very quick reaction. The camera we were using has a continuous picture mode that takes about 3 pictures a second, something we would definitely need! We set up the dark background and started taking pictures of our attempts. I think the photos turned out wonderful, and even though in most of them you can't see the colors that the original one showed, I think these are some of the most awesome photos I have ever taken!  They might even get entered into the MILSET Photo Contest!  It is a good day when I can combine science and photography!  Enjoy!


Have you even seen something in science and just had to try it out for yourself?  I think this is essential for us to continue as life long scientists and inspire the students around us!


Ever heard of Pinterest?  If not here is the low down- Pinterest is a site where you create an account to keep track of different web sites that you find in a visual way. Think of it as a digital bulletin board. The best part is that people all over the world can see what you post (if you want them to) and can save what you like on their digital bulletin boards as well. These sites are "pinned" with photos from the web site's pages.  Check out SEED's Pinterest page here!

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Those are great shots! I might steal the idea and try it myself! :)

This was a fun day at work.  Science and fire, it doesn't get much better.  Good thing we used our appropriate PPE, you never know what could have gone wrong with this expirement.

I had not heard about this! Very cool, we will have to try this when (IF) we ever get to dandelion season in Connecticut (we still have snow on the ground with more predicted for tomorrow). We get tons of dandelions at my house.

I have a question. Does the dandelion have to be in the seed head stage or does it work with the flower as well?

Hmmmmm....Good question!  Maybe we will need slip outside today and test it out!

I really want to see this in slow motion, so I emailed the Slow Mo Guys asking them to film this. Let's see if they do it . . .

Incredible.  The pictures are so pretty.  What SEED says really is truth: Science + Art = Magic.

Home science is fantastic. How lucky we are to have access to so many ideas on such a low budget.  The SEED Web site is filled with such ideas.  As for this one, now we just need to understand why the burning dandelion is so spectacular. What properties are contained within the flower to make it do that?


This is simply fabulous! What a great example of science in action!!! Well done!!