Fun With Refraction

To show that one can focus sound waves as well as light waves, Lord Rayleigh would place a ticking pocket watch beyond the earshot of a listener, then introduce a balloon filled with carbon dioxide between them. The balloon acted as a “sound lens” to concentrate the sound, and the listener could hear the watch ticking. Rayleigh would sometimes set the balloon swaying to make the effect intermittent.

Related: Pyrex and Wesson oil have the same index of refraction — so immersing Pyrex in oil makes it disappear: