Sometime around 1990 I began to think of what might be necessary to demonstrate the outrageous claims of quantum mechanics. I had something in mind such as Things of Science which would be some cheap equipment with which to show that our universe is indeed weird. I imagined that is would have to be somewhat more elaborate than most of the ‘Things’ but I thought it might be possible. I had hope of showing the photoelectric effect demonstrating the particle properties of light and perhaps Nicol prisms to split and rejoin a beam of visible light demonstrating interference and thus the wave properties of light.
I learned in school that I do not belong in a laboratory but nonetheless I scrounged around for a calcite crystal, famous for its birefringence and consequent role in the Nicol prism. I finally found and bought a nicely shaped 500g calcite crystal from a store that was more into the occult than into science. After I got it home and played with it for a while I realized that I needed optical quality material. My sample’s birefringence was manifest but interference requires micron surface tolerance to show up. Also there were too many internal flaws. I called around several companies that I thought might do such things, asking for ‘optical quality calcite’ being careful to say that my budget was minuscule. A typical response was “No we don’t to that but let me get your phone number and perhaps pass it to others who might have such products.”. I got several calls back from people who seemed curious about what I wanted it for. These calls lasted for a period of about two years.
I have made no progress on the idea since then.