Our Global Studios (the team who helps build exhibits/programs for other science centers, museums & government agencies around the world) is working with the Mid America Science Museum on their renovation. This heavy hunk of coal was donated by Sebastian Mining in Western Arkansas. The teams are collecting geological samples from around the state to show all the different rocks and minerals that live under our feet - limestone, shale, quartz crystals, etc - telling a bit about how they got there, and different ways people use them.
Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) are annoying #amiright but they are important to scientific research. Their body parts and behaviors are easy to observe and we share many common genes. As a result they are used to study a wide array of human health topics from alcohol intoxication to organ formation.
These particular Drosophila pupae have been removed from their pupae case. Watch their last few days of development into mature fruit flies, with an elapsed time of about 5 days. See more here.
Since the Exploratorium opened at its waterfront location more than a year ago, we’ve been engaged in a unique experiment with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab in Seattle lent us a beautiful ocean buoy, outfitted with instruments to measure carbon in the ocean and atmosphere. For the last 15 months, it’s been bobbing in all its white and red glory in the lagoon between Piers 15 and 17, occasionally surrounded by mist from the fog bridge art piece.
We’ve reached a milestone with the experiment, the first time we’ve pulled the buoy out of the water for maintenance. It’s a complex choreography of forklift, mobile crane and a balky metal watercraft dubbed “the angry bathtub” to lift the one ton buoy from the water onto our outdoor plaza. Read more.
It’s Thursday, so that means we have to throwback. Here’s an early Exploratorium exhibition, “Limbic System” by artist Tad Bridenthal. Visitors crawled into an infinitely reflecting, dodecahedron sculpture. Each of the twelve sides and twenty vertices featured colored lights and mirrors. We think it was up around 1971. The last shot is of the exterior.
Take a close look at some funky fungi. Recently MycoWorks shared their mycelium-driven sustainable design solutions on our Pier 15 Plaza.
Mycotecture, a term coined by Philip Ross in 2007, is architecture grown from mushroom mycelium - the vegetative part fungus, sometimes underground and unseen. Similar to synthetic open-cell foams such as polystyrene, Mycelium materials are compostable and can serve carbon-sequestering. Myco-Works is developing ”standards for mycelium composites and their application as energy- and cost-efficient alternatives to synthetic polymer materials.”
Behind the scenes at the Exploratorium staff offices, you’ll find curious artifacts like this. This guy has travelled with us from the vaults of our old location to Pier 15. Rumor has it that it’s an original NASA early-Apollo era demo suit!