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QUESTION: How could someone hide a polarized message on paper that can only be seen with polarized glasses lens? Maybe a slightly different material add to a sample of paint while the other sample is normal? Use both paints so it looks like chaos but really something is drawn or written with one of the two samples?

ANSWER: Sure, that's not hard to do.  It could look not like chaos, but like one material.  I think, if memory serves, that brushed iodine was used to make polarized material...hence the weird brown color in pilots' probably you could just paint in that (short horizontal strokes for the vertical bars and just strokes for the horizontal bars) or something, the rest could be un-brushed? I'm not sure, but it would be plenty easy to hide a message in polarized light in a background of unpolarized.  Only someone with polarized lenses or a mantis shrimp could see it...

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QUESTION: Any less toxic than iodine I could use? Something I could mix with paint?

No, I'm not really a paint expert or something, and even they wouldn't likely be able to answer your question.  Pieces of polarizing material (like 3D glasses) are your best bet.  No paints like that exist to my knowledge, but you never know....ask an art expert.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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