When Steve Spangler, a science educator from Denver, first combined soda and Mentos on a local TV news show in 2005, he had no idea it would become an Internet fad that would migrate onto television. Pop a plain Mentos (the waxy flavored ones won’t work) into a bottle of diet soda, and get ready for a geyser of liquid.

The mechanism that causes the foaming turns out to be physical, not chemical, as explained by chemist Fred Senese. Science students have adopted the experiment, but none so enthusiastically as the 1,500 kids from Belgium who recently set the record for simultaneous Mentos-Coke explosions. Check out the photos of the students in ponchos standing at long tables—the scene looks like something straight out of Hogwarts.

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