Angle of Repose
Sand of several different colors and densities falls over raised bumps on an aluminum plate to reveal beautiful patterns. By carefully spinning the disk, observers can create standing waves of continuously falling sand.
Fog spiraling down into a funnel creates a multilayered vortex which viewers can alter by adjusting the speed of a blower. The exhibit consists of a laminated wood frame base containing a funnel, a fog machine (ultrasonic humidifier), a blower, and an internal spot light.
SONIC RANGE uses sound to vibrate copper powder, creating a small-scale volcanic landscape complete with rift zones, subducting plates and eruptive fissures.
Soap Bubbles is a large tray filled with a special soap-solution and equipped with metal hoops of various sizes. With these hoops, visitors can make huge soap bubbles, occasionally big enough to fit over an entire person.
Watch Wind Work
A billboard Ned Kahn designed for the Exploratorium. Small reflective disks on the billboard shimmer with the wind, creating a visual representation of wind's effects on surrounding environments.
Mesocyclone is a 40-foot tall, working model of a hurricane. Powerful fans at the base of the structure create complex airflow patterns. These patterns are made visible by water vapor released from the top of the structure. Untried ever before at this scale, Mesocyclone was a major engineering and design challenge for the Turbulent Landscapes team. The exhibit continues to mesmerize museum visitors, often from quite far away!
Water streaming into a shallow dish creates a large whirlpool. As the water drains, intricate surface waves spiral in and out of the center and the entire vortex begins to slowly oscillate, revolving around the drain. The oscillations grow with each revolution until the vortex is so unstable that it breaks away from the drain and a new vortex immediately forms.