Explor-O-Rama ~ Get Your Hands On Science!
San Diego, CA; June 12, 2012 — The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center will open “EXPLOR-O-RAMA ~ Get Your Hands On Science!” on Saturday, June 16. Our newest Main Gallery exhibition combines some of our all-time favorites with never-seen-before interactive exhibits from San Francisco’s Exploratorium. This collection features opportunities to explore mechanics, motion, math, hearing, electricity and many other interconnected areas of science – sometimes all at the same time! Look for new challenges with the Bicycle Wheel Gyro, Strobe Flower and Magnetic Wave Machine; and enjoy the return of popular favorites the Whisper Dishes, Tornado and Pedal Generator!
The “EXPLOR-O-RAMA” alphabet soup includes: Balancing Ball, Bicycle Wheel Gyro, Bouncing Ball, DC Motor-Generator, Drawing Table, Duck Into Kaleidoscope, Fluttering Bridge, Generator Effect, Giant Chair, Gravity Well, Hold the Phone, Lens Table, Magic Wand, Magnetic Wave Machine, Marble Accelerator, Motion Theater, Parabolas, Pedal Generator, Pendulum Snake, Pitch Switch, Primary of A Cube, Repeating Words, Rope Squirter, Speech Dissector, Spinning Eraser, Square Wheels, Strobe Flower, Tornado, Whisper Dishes, and Turntable.
Exhibit Descriptions: Find where the Balancing Ball will float to on a stream of air blowing out of a tube, generated by a large fan beneath it. Ride the Bicycle Wheel Gyro and see how any object that spins will hold to its axis, until a force is applied from outside. Using the magnet, lift and drop the Bouncing Ball on a steel plate to demonstrate audibly the exponential decay of the motion and the corresponding increase of the frequency of the bounces.
The ever-popular Tornado’s air currents present a delightful, chaotic and unpredictable image created of mist and fans, delighting viewers as it wanders away from its source and escapes the grasp of its shearing winds. Modulate the air flowing past Fluttering Bridge to create different wave patterns and see how resonance builds on each wave, increasing the fluttering amplitude - a fantastic teaching tool for resonance and elastic vs. dampened structures, especially bridge design. Children and adults alike spend hours orbiting steel balls into the hyperbolic funnel of the Gravity Well, a visualization of Kepler’s laws of planetary motion.
At Hold the Phone, hear thought-provoking facts, trivia and great moments in the history of science; all pointing to a new way to understand the world around us. Not really magic at all, the Magic Wand provides a surface on which an image is reflected, showing the eye’s capacity to retain individual reflections as one whole picture. The Magnetic Wave Machine combines 25 ceramic magnets which dynamically interact and react to visitors driving one or more pendulums by hand. Shaking the large globe of the Marble Accelerator causes a large ball bearing to race around the inside of the globe, much like an inside out hula-hoop.
The Motion Theater features a selection of classic non-narrative films exploring the science, beauty, and wonder inherent in the topic of motion. Ten brass weights hung at different lengths appear to move together, first in a line, then as a Pendulum Snake, then in seemingly random motion. The Rope Squirter lets you manipulate a loop of string thrown by a pulley attached to a spinning motor, causing it to move in interesting and unexpected ways.
As visitors stare at a dot and spin the disc of the Spinning Eraser, colored shapes and three dimensional objects disappear from view in movement induced blindness. Square Wheels roll smoothly across a very bumpy surface - why don’t they move up and down as it rolls along?
Strobe Flower creates delicate, intricate shapes reminiscent of ghostly flowers and insects as you twirl a small scrap of plastic grocery bag in front of a blank computer screen, adjusting the image into and out of phase with the computer screen’s frequency. Children of all ages love the challenge of getting small metal disks and rings to stand on edge while moving around the Turntable, without letting them slide off.
Two DC permanent magnet motors wired together alternate as a DC Motor-Generator, as well as demonstrating how a generator’s energy goes toward lighting a lamp. The Generator Effect, created with an array of large magnets, a flat winding of copper wire, and a track & roller assembly; also demonstrates how a strong magnetic field can light a small lamp. Pedal Generator dramatically demonstrates the amount of energy – and physical exertion - it takes to create electricity, as you sit in a chair pushing pedals connected to an electric generator through a crankshaft, trying keep three headlight- style lamps lit at the same brilliance.
In Whisper Dishes, two large parabolic dishes focus sound and light waves and allow you to talk across the room without raising your voices. As you speak into the microphone of Pitch Switch, you make the air around the microphone vibrate, and control an electronic circuit which picks up the vibrations and changes the frequency, allowing you to raise and lower the pitch of your voice by more than an octave. You may hear illusory sounds that are not there as Repeating Words demonstrates a sound illusion, that of repeating sounds which quickly lose their context. Slice up a recording of your voice with Speech Dissector and listen to the pieces, see the visual patterns (amplitude) and alter it by reversing the playback and changing the playback speed.
When you Duck Into a Kaleidoscope, three conjoined mirrors create multiple reflections and impression of a crowd - is this what it’s like to look into infinity? An object placed on the lower mirror of the Parabolas creates a convincing image of it floating at the top. Reaching for this image reveals its ghost-like nature as the visitor’s hand passes right through it.
Primary of A Cube, with two 90 degree mirrored right angles cut into each of its sides, is a fun way to play with mirrors. The Lens Table, with a light source, multiple objects, and screens moved around in tracks, lets you create different images using convex lenses and different sized pinholes.
Have you forgotten how the world looks to a small child? Enjoy the fresh perspective provided from the seat of this Giant Chair. The pen and drawing board of the Drawing Table are connected to pendulums swinging at right angles, as you change the pendulum phase and deflection to draw different shapes.
“EXPLOR-O-RAMA” opens June 16, 2012; and will run through June 1, 2014. The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is located at 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101. Gallery admission, which includes access to all seven exhibit galleries: Adults $11.75; Children $9.75; Seniors $9.75. The Fleet’s summer hours are Monday – Thursday 10AM – 5PM, Friday & Saturday: 10AM – 8PM, and Sunday 10AM – 6PM. For more information call (619) 238-1233 or visit our website at www.rhfleet.org/site/exhibition/upcomingexhibits.html.
This exhibition has been funded in part by the County of San Diego.