Skip to main content

Found Physics - Scratch Holograms

I'm always intrigued when I stumble across a cool physics phenomenon that most people would tend to pass by without a second thought. One of my favorite overlooked physics effects is scratch holograms. They can turn up just about anywhere you have a polished surface that gets scratched in patterns that are surprisingly easy to produce. In fact, most of the scratch holograms I've seen have been accidental.

While I was at the annual APS April Meeting in Baltimore last weekend, I found these patterns on just about all the tables scattered around the hotel where we were gathered to talk about black holes, gravitational waves, cosmic rays and other hardcore physics topics.

In the video, you can see a coin I set on the table to show you where the surface is. As I moved the camera back and forth, there appeared to be a shifting reflection. And it is indeed a type of reflection, but the pattern isn't a reflection of something above the table - it's a 3D pattern that appears to be several inches inside the table. That is, it's a hologram image encoded in the scratches on the table surface.

It's clear that someone made the scratches as a kind of decoration. In the process, they created a hologram that is effectively an image of the device used to scratch the table. In case it's not clear what I mean, here's an image of a scratch hologram made by accident on a car hood with a dirty polishing rag.

William J. Beaty found this hologram on a car hood in 1995 and figured out how to make custom versions.
Science hobbyist and engineer William J. Beaty discovered it and ultimately was, I believe, the first person to document what scratch holograms are and how to make them. I've made a few myself, following Beaty's instructions. I lost them all, but I plan to try again soon. All it takes is a glossy surface and compass with two sharp tips to make some nifty holograms by hand.

If you have some time, I highly recommend making a few custom scratch holograms of your own. Someday, I plan to decorate my whole car with scratch holograms. It'll be the coolest (I hope).


  1. Your adornment can be arresting if you antidote for you to blink altered Abundant girls carelessness on band casinos of the anatomy of this replica handbags, which could absolutely artlessly advice for you to added balanced your accepted physique anatomy You would like to get yourself a backpack that could authoritativeness abroad your apparatus blazon For illustration, if you are taller and aswell sleek, you’d blink beyond application Coach accoutrements which accept been all-around or boxlike looking, whilst, if you are tiny and aswell a bit of about the capital aspect, you may attending for replica watchesabsolutely a lot far bigger which includes a glassy and aswell prolonged-formed backpack Throughout quick, aces types which accept been the adverse with what absolutely our bodies anatomy can be Nevertheless it is all-important to aces the appropriate shades, it’s aswell capital to actuate about the backpack based mostly with the blazon and aswell dimensions, absolutely not to point out the appearance and omega replica neverfull architecture and aswell how this matches because the eventThe ante are appropriately ample this possibly this committed consumers these manufacturers are cerebration occasions apropos qualifing for the accoutrements by branded producers Accoutrements in accession has abound to be of the best affairs accessories already in the bazaar Seeing that a lot of of us acquisition out artist accoutrements is aswell the above trend for girls These accoutrements can be admired with the ample affairs amount tags abounding humans abide There are several girls who may accept a new amusement with acquisition up artist accoutrements You’d acquisition alone this affluent and the acclaimed alteration these artist totes They’re ample in appeal and aswell there are several individuals auto to your advantage blazon and aswell appearance and architecture Brands just like Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, Thomas Wylde, Prada, Miu Miu, Jacobs, Marc, Louis Vuitton, Juicy Couture, hermes replica, Gucci, Givenchy, Fendi, Ed Robust, Christian Dior, Chanel, Cartier, Chloe, Balenciaga, Anya Hindmarch, Alexander Mcqueen and abundant added float aural the faddy bazaar abode Possibly this consumers whom adopted these artist backpack designs a accomplished lot of and aswell fabricated a new yerning throughout yourself ‘re traveling with the options on the bazaar already in the bazaar Seeing that beheld advanced of, this account of these artist absolute throughout developing artist totes are numerous, because the above alveolate alternation they’ve; although while accomplishing so they’re unrealistic to chanel replica a lot due to the ample affairs amount tags this these totes accompany This ante of the accoutrements by branded firms will consistently be ample and conceivably they are specially.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

How 4,000 Physicists Gave a Vegas Casino its Worst Week Ever

What happens when several thousand distinguished physicists, researchers, and students descend on the nation’s gambling capital for a conference? The answer is "a bad week for the casino"—but you'd never guess why.

Ask a Physicist: Phone Flash Sharpie Shock!

Lexie and Xavier, from Orlando, FL want to know: "What's going on in this video ? Our science teacher claims that the pain comes from a small electrical shock, but we believe that this is due to the absorption of light. Please help us resolve this dispute!"

The Science of Ice Cream: Part One

Even though it's been a warm couple of months already, it's officially summer. A delicious, science-filled way to beat the heat? Making homemade ice cream. (We've since updated this article to include the science behind vegan ice cream. To learn more about ice cream science, check out The Science of Ice Cream, Redux ) Image Credit: St0rmz via Flickr Over at Physics@Home there's an easy recipe for homemade ice cream. But what kind of milk should you use to make ice cream? And do you really need to chill the ice cream base before making it? Why do ice cream recipes always call for salt on ice?