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Running Time:
00:32:10
Neon is normally odorless and colorless, reacting with no one, not even itself. Abundant in the universe, uncommon on Earth, it drifts aloof from any bond. When isolated by Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers inside a vacuum tube in 1898, the noble gas betrayed its excitement in brilliant red. That excitement, glowing within Georges Claude’s ingeniously curved lamps since 1923, has captured our imaginations ever since.

Project: Everything Matters: Tales from the Periodic Table | Browse All

Date: February 4, 2016
Format: Demonstration / Activity
Category: Everyday Science
Subject(s): Art, Chemistry, General Science
Running Time:
00:03:17
Artist Tim Hawkinson is celebrated for his idiosyncratic, imaginative artworks that re-purpose everyday materials in inventive sculptural constructions that simultaneously confound and delight. Hawkinson has collaborated with the Center for Art and Inquiry and the Studio for Public Spaces to create the third installment of our adventurous Over the Water series of large-scale artworks for the civic space at Pier 15. Bosun’s Bass is a tide-activated sound work inspired by the bosun's call, the high-pitched whistle used by mariners to give commands that can be heard over the roar of the sea. Evoking the eerie sounds of San Francisco’s maritime past, Hawkinson’s whimsical work employs elements of everyday transportation—shipping container, bus bellows, bicycle—to create a bass bosun's whistle, which is tuned three octaves lower than the traditional instrument. The shipping container, pitched vertically and installed over a hole in the deck of Pier 15, provides the lungs of the system. Tidal waters rise and fall in the container, compressing air and pushing it up into a giant bellows mounted above. The bellows, reclaimed from the pleated section of an articulated Muni bus, provides a steady source of pressurized air, which moves through a hose to the bicycle frame and there blows the bosun’s pipe. The airflow is controlled by a series of valves, levers, and other mechanisms that emulate a bosun’s hand and mouth motions to produce different sounds in the whistle. Cued by patterns cut into the tread of the bike's rear wheel, the bass bosun's pipe plays 21 different traditional calls including "Attention," "Carry On," "Swab the Deck," and "Pipe Down.”

Project: Arts at the Exploratorium | Browse All

Date: February 3, 2016
Format: Exhibit
Category: Everyday Science
Subject(s): General Science
Running Time:
00:02:52
The Exploratorium has been bringing solar eclipses to world-wide audiences via live broadcasts since 1998. We'll be on site again to capture the 2016 Total Solar Eclipse from the remote Micronesian island of Woleai. Join us live from Micronesia on March 8, 2016 at 5 p.m. PST either online or at the Exploratorium’s free event! www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/ We’ll also be broadcasting the 2017 eclipse; Stay tuned for more details!

Project: Solar Eclipse: Stories from the Path of Totality | Browse All

Date: February 1, 2016
Format: Event
Category: Everyday Science
Subject(s): Astronomy/Space Science
Running Time:
00:30:20
Recorded live at the Exploratorium in 2015. A noted foe of tooth decay, fluoride is added to most toothpaste, as well as our public water supply—a fact attacked by numerous conspiracy theories. Find out more about this controversial compound from Howard Pollick, Director of the Dental Public Health Residency Program at the University of California, San Francisco, and discover why elemental fluorine is considered to be completely dangerous, if not deadly.

Project: Everything Matters: Tales from the Periodic Table | Browse All

Date: December 17, 2015
Format: Expedition
Category: Everyday Science
Subject(s):
Running Time:
00:24:26
Recorded live at the Exploratorium in 2015. Furiously reactive, fluorine has a ferocious appetite for attracting electrons from other elements, and a fearsome habit of killing chemists. Due to the strength of its bonds, fluorine is found almost exclusively in compounds such as the colorful mineral fluorite. Early attempts to isolate the element were met with injury and death from explosions, corrosive burns, and poisonous fumes. In 1886, the treacherous gas was at last isolated by Henri Moissan, whose innovative processes are still in use today.

Project: Everything Matters: Tales from the Periodic Table | Browse All

Date: December 17, 2015
Format: Lecture
Category: Everyday Science
Subject(s):
Running Time:
00:53:27
Annual reception and presentation with Dennis M. Bartels, PhD; George Cogan, Chairman of the Board; and the Exploratorium's Board of Directors.

Project: Miscellaneous | Browse All

Date: December 2, 2015
Format: Event
Category: Everyday Science
Subject(s):
Running Time:
01:15:32
Leaders in their respective fields of science and medicine, Anne Wojcicki, cofounder and CEO of 23andMe, and her sister Janet Wojcicki, PhD, MPH, and professor at the University of California, San Francisco, join Exploratorium Director Dennis M. Bartels, PhD, for a stimulating conversation about their work and the evolution of the role of women in science, medicine, and technology.

Project: Miscellaneous | Browse All

Date: December 2, 2015
Format: Event
Category: Everyday Science
Subject(s):
Running Time:
00:00:40
A little over five years after initial construction on the Exploratorium's new home at Piers 15-17 began, the installation of a 24' x 60' floating dock off the south Apron of Pier 15 took place in early November. The dock will provide Pier access for water taxis in the San Francisco Bay. Timelapse video captures the last of the Exploratorium's original project construction.

Project: Exploratorium at the Piers | Browse All

Date: November 24, 2015
Format: Demonstration / Activity
Category: Everyday Science
Subject(s):
Running Time:
00:27:47
Recorded live at the Exploratorium 2015. Earth, water, air, fire: our world is ruled by oxygen, the third most abundant element in the universe. Originating inside of stars, oxygen is scarce on planets outside our own. It comprises roughly half the mass of Earth’s crust and a fifth of its atmosphere. Nonmetallic and highly reactive, oxygen is key to combustion and corrosion, and forms stable bonds with almost every element, notably hydrogen (H2O) and itself.

Project: Everything Matters: Tales from the Periodic Table | Browse All

Date: November 19, 2015
Format: Lecture
Category: Everyday Science
Subject(s): Chemistry
Running Time:
00:14:27
Recorded live at the Exploratorium in 2015. Earth’s oxygen is produced in equal measure by terrestrial vegetation and microscopic life in the sea. Explore the profound influence of phytoplankton on the atmosphere with Exploratorium scientist Jennifer Frazier, and learn how their populations are changing along with our climate. Investigate oxygen’s physical properties and follow the history of its discovery, as well as its more breathtaking applications.

Project: Everything Matters: Tales from the Periodic Table | Browse All

Date: November 19, 2015
Format: Lecture
Category: Everyday Science
Subject(s): Chemistry, Life Science/Biology