A light bulb is placed in series with two copper plates immersed in de-ionized water. Touching the plates closes the circuit, lighting the bulb.
When kosher salt is dropped into the de-ionized water, the salt dissolves, causing ions to be dispersed throughout the liquid. The free ions allow current to flow through the water, which completes the circuit and lights the bulb.
Most water we encounter in everyday life is not de-ionized and contains impurities with dissolved ions. This is why we know water as a good conductor, and why we shouldn't use electronic devices around a bathtub, for example.
See original video on MIT TechTV - http://techtv.mit.edu/videos/798
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