Following state and local guidelines, the Fleet Science Center building will be temporarily closed effective July 7, 2020, until further notice. Summer Camps, Virtual Activities and Craveology will continue to operate.
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Taping Shape 2.0

Why Knot?

Taping Shape 2.0 logo
Taping Shape 2.0 logo
A family explores Taping Shape 2.0
A family explores Taping Shape 2.0
On the inside, looking out
On the inside, looking out
Taking a break
Taking a break
Fleet CEO Steve Snyder invites you to explore Taping Shape 2.0
Fleet CEO Steve Snyder invites you to explore Taping Shape 2.0

One of the Fleet Science Center’s most popular—and most unusual—exhibitions is back! In Taping Shape 2.0, hundreds of rolls of packing tape are unfurled and bound together to create a world of translucent spaces and tunnels for visitors of all ages to explore. Wear your most colorful socks, because this exhibit is shoes-off and hands-on!

  • Miles of tape. Tons of fun!
  • Enter and explore this unexpected world.
  • Inside, learn more about the structure of Taping Shape.

Layers of conventional packing tape wrapped over installed scaffolding create sinuous branch-like forms. These branches are then covered inside and outside by layers of plastic shrink-wrap to bind the structure together, producing springy surfaces large enough to walk or crawl into. The network of cocooning passageways and rooms create smooth, continuous surfaces. Colorful lights add to the experience. Surfaces curve, slope and twist. The “floor” eases into the side of the structure, which gradually becomes the ceiling.

Visitors can explore the structure from the inside and outside, and then investigate the science behind it all in supplemental bilingual exhibits.


Taping Shape 2.0 will spark wonder and excitement through the unusual and unexpected use of materials and forms. The ethereal beauty and creativity of the structure will fascinate anyone's inner artist. Taping Shape 2.0 will be as intriguing to experience from the outside looking in as it is to move inside of it.

Taping Shape 2.0 is a deeper exploration into topology, a field of study in mathematics that explores how objects can be stretched and deformed as they move through space. Knot theory, a branch of topology, explores mathematical knots. Though that may at first seem to be an unfathomable topic, knots are all around you, from shoelaces to neckties. Knots are even inside you.

Taping Shape 2.0 explores science, art and mathematical concepts, including:

  • Knot theory
  • Topology
  • Geometry
  • Spatial relations
  • Membranes
  • Mathematics
  • Tensile strength

Taping Shape 2.0 is now open in the Innovation Gallery. The exhibition is included with the cost of Fleet admission. Make a plan to visit ... and stick with it!

And in case you're wondering what happens to all of that tape at the end of the exhibition's run ... it's recyclable! 

Taping Shape was developed by the Fleet Science Center, in partnership with Elizabeth Denne, PhD.

About Elizabeth Denne:

Elizabeth Denne grew up in Australia and graduated with a BSc (Hons) from the University of Sydney. She moved to the United States to complete a PhD in mathematics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Having held positions at Harvard University and Smith College, she is now an Associate Professor at Washington & Lee University. Her research interests are centered on geometric knot theory, using topological invariants to answer questions about the geometry of knots. Recently, she has become interested in using 3D printing to make mathematical models for use in both research and the classroom.




























This exhibition is also available en Español

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