Exploratorium home Exploratorium home Explo.tv
Browse programs by:
Search 
00:01:48
The science behind this instrument, including a discussion of how vibration produces sound, and how long, massive objects vibrate slowly and produce a low-pitched sound, while shorter, less massive objects vibrate quickly and produce a high-pitched sound.

00:01:15
An introduction to an instrument much like a saxophone but made of a water bottle and a paper tube.

00:10:32
A detailed demonstration of how to make the saxophone-like membranophone, including a discussion of materials needed.

00:01:54
The science behind the water bottle membranophone, including a discussion of how air vibrates the instrument's membrane, producing sound.

00:03:20
PETER WHITEHEAD is an instrument builder, performer, and composer. His singular instruments, often based on folk instruments from around the world, feature unusual found materials. Among his many instruments are the Heart Banjo, made from a baking tin; the Lawn Lyre, made from an old lawnmower and a metal oil pan; and the Spoonharp, made from a five-gallon metal drum, a eucalyptus branch, and kitchen spoons. Originally from England, Whitehead is now based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founding member of the Mobius Operandi performance group, he also performs regularly with Closer To Carbon, an improvisational trio.

00:24:36
Join Exploratorium staff Paul Doherty and Robyn Higdon as they discuss the Transit of Mercury.

05:12:09
On November 8, 2006, Mercury slowly slid across the face of the sun during a relatively rare event known as a transit. The Exploratorium's Live@ crew was at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona to cover the event. This webcast includes a brief history of Kitt Peak and its 21 telescopes.

00:05:53
At the age of eleven, Peter D'Amato ordered a Venus flytrap from Famous Monsters magazine; thus began a lifetime of cultivating carnivorous plants. His small apartment became an urban jungle, so he moved to Sebastopol, California, the home of California Carnivores, where he grows and sells hundreds of other-worldly plants whose traps range from those small enough to capture protozoa to those big enough to contain a rodent.

00:01:52
Peter D'Amato of California Carnivores gives us a guided tour of the Venus Flytrap, one of the world's best-known carnivorous plants.

00:03:07
If you’ve ever gone to hear an orchestra play, you know that the performance begins only after a session of tuning. An oft-repeated story tells of a visiting foreigner attending a concert in Paris. Afterwards, when asked which part of the performance he liked best, he replied, “The beginning, just before the man with the stick came in.” Tuning means adjusting the pitch of an instrument. The pitch of a sound depends on its frequency, the number of vibrations per second that produce the sound. For example, plucking a cello string might cause it to vibrate back and forth 200 times each second. You hear that sound as a low pitch of 200 cycles per second, or 200 hertz. An orchestra tunes itself to a very particular frequency, usually 440 hertz, a note known as A 440. The note is played by the oboist, and the rest of the orchestra tunes their instruments to match it. The oboe leads the tuning because of all the instruments, it is least affected by humidity or other weather conditions.