“I recommend that you be willing to become deeply involved in lots and lots of things and that you let yourself, perhaps even force yourself, to do things that you think are important and that you can take seriously. I make this recommendation to you because I believe that if you do, then even in the face of considerable adversity you will feel, as I do now, grateful for having lived.”
Over forty-plus years, people have had profound, surprising, magical, mind-blowing, wacky, and wonderful experiences at the Exploratorium, a hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception in San Francisco.
As we prepare to move, in 2013, from our longtime home at the Palace of Fine Arts to Pier 15, we’re taking a long look back—and we need your help.
“The basis for social and technological change is understanding how nature behaves and how people behave. If we can create confidence in that, there’s some chance that we won’t blow each other up, and that we can have a decent society.” —Frank Oppenheimer
“Understanding science is satisfying—and fun.” —Frank Oppenheimer
Above: Each horizontal pair of small squares is the same color. It’s the red or blue background color that causes them to appear different. Here’s why: The lining at the back of your eye, called the retina, is covered with light-sensitive cells called rods and cones. Rods let you see in dim light but only in shades of gray. Cones detect color in bright light and affect each other in complex ways. When cones in one part of your eye see blue light, they make nearby cones less sensitive to blue. Because of this, you see a colored spot on a blue background as less blue than it really is. For example, if you put a purple spot on a blue background, that spot looks less blue than it otherwise would. Try your hand at mixing colors to make a spot match its background at Mix & Match.
Above: Sandwiched between two pads of glass or plastic, a layer of bubbles looks like a honeycomb. The bubbles form a regular pattern—the common walls of three bubbles meet at 120 degree angles. Each bubble has a common wall with six others, forming a pattern of hexagons