On his own, Jesse pulled together an experiment about oil slicks using (cotton?) string, vegetable oil, and water. (I apologize for the fuzziness of the pictures. They're from my phone.)
Water in a pan with a little oil
We took nine pieces of the string and braided them into 3 braids, and then braided the 3 braids together into 1. He floated the braid on the top of the water to see if it would attract/soak up the oil.
It did! The dark parts of the string are the parts that soaked up the oil. Now, if we could replicate it on such a large scale that it would solve the problem in the Gulf... Give Jesse a few years, and I think he can do it. ;)
Head over to Adventures in Mommydom for more Science Sunday experiment fun!