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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. 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!
We’ll also be broadcasting the 2017 eclipse; Stay tuned for more details!
Watch celebrated artist Alexa Meade transform a live model into a seemingly two-dimensional tableau.
Reversing the tradition of trompe l’oeil, the Renaissance painting technique in which objects appear real, Alexa Meade painstakingly applies acrylic paint onto actual people and objects, creating illusions of seamless, two-dimensional portraits. Unified by bold brushwork reminiscent of mid-20th-century painting styles, her subjects appear flattened, as if painted on canvas, even when viewed from different angles. Meade’s work invites a deep exploration into the nature of perception, the role of photography in viewing ephemeral artworks, and the sudden intimacy of portraiture.
The drinking water provided for San Francisco and many nearby communities is among the purest in the world. Located high in the Sierras, more than 200 miles away, Hetch Hetchy reservoir holds most of this water which is fed by springtime snowmelt via the Tuolumne River. The system for delivering that water is almost entirely gravity fed, requiring almost no fossil fuel consumption to move water from the mountains to the tap. Take an exclusive tour with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) as they lead us through this unique system and address the current drought and how to conserve water. On February 26, 1998, a total solar eclipse darkened skies in a swath stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, across the Caribbean. From the island of Aruba, an Exploratorium team presented a live Webcast of this celestial event.
At the time, Webcasting technology was in its infancy, and this first live Webcast ever of a solar eclipse broke existing records for the number of viewers. Watch the archived Webcast here, or just click on the images below for still photos of eclipse highlights. A dozen whales, different species and ages, have washed up recently on nearly 300 miles of Northern California coastline. While this is not a record, it's still alarming. Why is it happening? Bay Area scientists are considering factors such as environmental changes, food distribution, shipping, ocean currents, and predator behavior. Meet staff from the California Academy of Sciences, Mission Science Workshop, and the Exploratorium, and explore evidence leading to and hypotheses about these tragic events. Cheer on the competitors in this zany science cook-off, where teachers compete before a live webcast audience for the sought-after title, "Iron Science Teacher." The Science of Sharing Forum on June 6, 2015 featured Dr. Shachar Kariv, Benjamin N. Ward Professor of Economics and Economics Department Chair at UC Berkeley. He has been a visiting scholar at Stanford University, the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, the European University Institute, the University of Oxford, and the Norwegian School of Economics. Much of his research focuses on social networks, behavior under uncertainty, and decisions about sharing and giving. Beck Tench and Elizabeth Fleming led the development of Experimonths, social-media activities that brought Science of Sharing to the wider world. Beck Tench is an educator, designer, and technologist who works with museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions to embrace risk-taking, creativity, and change. Elizabeth Fleming is Director for Learning Environments at the Museum of Life and Science. She plays a key role in exhibit design and evaluation and is a strong advocate for museum cultures fostering lifelong learning and science as a way of knowing.
Dr. Hugh McDonald is a Project Director, Senior Science Writer, and Associate Curator for the museum’s Osher West Gallery, which focuses on the interplay among science, society, and culture. He is a social psychologist and Principal Investigator of the Science of Sharing project.
Dr. Jennifer Jacquet, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at New York University, is an environmental social scientist. Much of her work focuses on transboundary cooperation issues such as overfishing, climate change, and wildlife preservation—challenges that depend in part on negotiation, communication, and trust, concepts at the heart of Science of Sharing.