Field Trip Explainers

Reflections on life at Exploratorium

Tag: video

Chain reaction contraptions with PIE

by Luigi Anzivino

Here I am, the ghost of explainers past, to present: chain reaction contraptions built as part of a training with PIE and the Learning Studio. This is just a small scale preview of the chaos we will unleash on the unsuspecting public at Maker Faire, coming up at the end of this month! Enjoy the videos.


More Smashing

by Ann Bartkowski

Since I was home sick from work last week, I spent an inordinate amount of time watching TV (aka The Discovery Channel).  I got super excited every time they played this commercial for their new show, Time Warp, which reminds me of Smashbat.  My favorite part is when the green balloon explodes on the dude’s face.  What do you think? I mean, it’s no Gladiators, but I want to watch it.

Pi(e) Chain Reaction

by Luigi Anzivino

Here it is, the video of the glorious Pi(e) Chain Reaction that took place on Pi Day. Visitors came in and built contraptions that linked with each other in a giant chain reaction, which was set off at 2:15pm. It was tons of fun, and, as always, the explainers rocked the house. You can see more photos on the PIE website, just click on Pi Day Chain Reaction.

All I can say is, she was the cutest:


It all came crashing down

by Luigi Anzivino

Some time ago, Ryan blogged about Aeneas Wilder’s installation in the seeing gallery, which was scheduled to be demolished by three visitors last Monday, Labor Day. Well, here she goes:

Make and Break Exhibits

by ryan

 We’ve debuted some cool temporary exhibits at the ExplOratorium over the past few months. The kids at our summer camp made the first exhibit which hangs from the circle of lights in the middle of the museum. For one of our activities, the campers dissected computer keyboards and made flying “cy-birds” from the plastic sheets that lie under the keys. The project allows the kids to create an piece of art that will stay on the floor for the next month or so. I think that the idea of having an exhibit like this demonstrates the spirit of the ExplOratorium as a museum without pretentions about who can make art, do science or contribute to the exhibit space.

The second temporary exhibit going on at the ExplOratorium is a totally amazing sculpture created by the visiting artist Aeneas Wilder. His piece on display at the current moment is titled Untitled No. 133 and can be found in the art space in the back corner of the museum surrounded by the mind section. One amazing thing about the exhibit is that the entire thing is constructed without any glue, nails, or material which holds the pieces together. It’s sort of like a giant Jenga game, although for some reason it probably wouldn’t stay standing if I tried to remove a plank even though I have super steady hands. So the other crazy thing about the exhibit is that the artist kicked down two previous versions of the artwork before settling on the current design. Earlier in the summer, I saw him building a twisting tower which he later knocked down with a mighty boot, creating a loud noise that apparently echoed throughout the entire museum. Watch the video on his website here if you don’t believe me! If anyone wants to check out the demise of the current installation live, I believe that the plans are to knock it down on Labor Day at 4PM.

Something about the piece reminded me of the Marble Machines that the PIE institute has been working with over the past year. Like the marble machines, Wilder’s works is made of simple materials and by nature temporary. I remember that after working on my peg board for only a few hours, I was extremely reluctant to take the pieces apart. I can only imagine what it would be like to destroy something that you spent so much time, planning, and precise placing of wooden boards. Although the spectacle of the crash might be pretty damn satisfying.

Paul D. flies a Hydra!

by Luigi Anzivino

Remember that training we did with Paul D. where we made wonderful magical wands that could levitate bits of plastic and twine? Best training ever, in my opinion. Well, now there’s a video up on YouTube showing the whole world how amazing science can be!

I remember Paul saying that the electrostatic force repelling the hydra is stronger than the gravitational pull of the whole earth, and in fact that gravity is considered a “weak” force. If I remember correctly, he mentioned that electricity is 40,000 times stronger than gravity. Anything else anyone remembers?

By the way, the Exploratorium channel on YouTube often posts little interesting snippets of video, which are meant to be a sort of appetizer to get people to watch the more substantial webcasts on the Exploratorium’s website, so check them out!