If you are one of those people (and you know you are) who likes to amaze
you friends with little tricks and interesting facts then having a
little gallium on hand is for you. It's a great conversation starter or
ice breakerGallium Crystals (Photo by en:user:foobar/Creative Commons via Wikimedia) when you pull out a little piece of metal and use your
amazing mental powers to turn it into liquid in the palm of your hand.
Call it better entertaining through chemistry. Gallium is a metal represented on the periodic table of elements with the symbol Ga and the number 31. What turns it into a great party trick is that it has a really low melting point -- 85.57° F. That means that if you hold it in your hand long enough it will melt. You'll want to make sure your hands are warm or you will be standing there a long time. You may also want to create some snappy patter to keep your victim, er, audience paying attention during the melting process.
If you are a teacher or a home-schooling parent this is a great way to put a bit of science right in the palms of a kid's hand. In its liquid state it resembles mercury but it is far safer to handle. Gallium lets them experience the wonder of chemistry directly.
Getting your hands on some gallium is easy. You don't have to have any special mad scientist connections. You can just order it from Amazon. You can also order a kit to take your chemistry experiments a step further and turning gallium into a spoon.
This is way cooler than the chemistry sets of yesteryear and way, way cooler than pulling a quarter out of someone's ear.
Sources: Wikipedia, Amazon, Amazon