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Ned Kahn

Ned Kahn
Ned Kahn

Ned Kahn is an environmental artist and sculptor whose work mimics the usually invisible forces of nature and makes it visible to audiences. His main interests include fluid dynamics, optics, acoustics, and other physical phenomena. Kahn worked as an apprentice to Frank Oppenheimer, the founder of the Exploratorium, during the 1980s and designed many timeless exhibits for the institution. He has gone on to design exhibits for museums such as the Museum of Natural History in New York, Museum of Natural History in London, England, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and others. He has also completed numerous public commissions including works for the Skirball Museum and Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA and Yahoo Headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA. Kahn is a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation's genius grant.

Related Exhibits

Angle of Repose

1995

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.

Infalling Cloud

1996

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

1991

SONIC RANGE uses sound to vibrate copper powder, creating a small-scale volcanic landscape complete with rift zones, subducting plates and eruptive fissures.

Bubble Hoops

1989

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

1987

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

1996

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!

Blue Whirlpool

1996

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.

Related Exhibits

Angle of Repose

1995

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.

Infalling Cloud

1996

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

1991

SONIC RANGE uses sound to vibrate copper powder, creating a small-scale volcanic landscape complete with rift zones, subducting plates and eruptive fissures.

Bubble Hoops

1989

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

1987

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

1996

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!

Blue Whirlpool

1996

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.