Thousands of distinct species live and breathe (or not) in this colorful bacterial terrarium. Look for green cyanobacteria, orange iron oxidizers, and gray cellulose eaters. What you see today will be gone tomorrow in this living artwork in a perpetual state of change.
Developed by artist Michael Brown in collaboration with reclaimed wood specialist Evan Shively, a several-hundred-year-old Douglas fir was split down the center to reveal its rings, immersing visitors in a fascinating study of dendrochronology.
A decaying carcass makes a perfect meal for an assortment of scavengers, including the dermestid beetles you can see in this exhibit. As they feast on these carcasses, the dermestid beetles and their larvae get their energy and nutrients from the dried flesh, skin, and other tissues.
Almost any hard object submerged in San Francisco Bay—from pier pilings to the sides of sailboats—quickly becomes a habitat for an ever-changing community of living things. Here you can use a joystick-driven microscope to take a tour of the wonderland of living creatures that have settled on a glass plate that has spent some time submerged in the Bay.
Answer questions about certain of your physical features, such as what color your eyes are, and how attached the bottoms of your ears are to your head. Then find out what roles genes and your environment play in these traits.
It takes just 21 days for an egg to go from just laid to newly hatched chick, and a lot goes on in just the first week. Look closely and you’ll find blood vessels, a backbone, wing buds, eyes, a brain, and—throbbing prominently by day 5 or so—a beating heart.
This interactive data visualization reveals the migration tracks of sharks, whales, sea turtles, tuna, and other marine creatures, and lets visitors explore differences in timing, geographic location, and male versus female migration routes.
Sit down in a cozy chair and bathe your brain in a bubble of color of your choosing, dialing up anything from amber to violet. As you spend a few moments with each color, you may feel a shift in your own emotional hue.
This exhibit uses a geared motor to swing a specially designed piling out of the water so that visitors can examine it in detail. An accompanying legend identifies the intertidal zones on the piling and the species of plant and animal life occupying this unique shoreline environment.
At this exhibit, you can test your reaction time in three different scenarios—each requiring an increasing amount of thought. In the process, you can actually measure the time it takes your brain to accomplish the extra work of making a (fast) decision.
A sweeping glance creates images that appear and disappear in the blink of an eye. This phenomenon, called persistence of vision, is also at work in videos and movie projections, which also flash on and off rapidly.
A surprising—and as yet unexplained—tactile illusion can occur when you slowly rub your palms across this mesh. You may feel a strange, slippery sensation, as if there’s a thin film of velvet between your hands.
Alma Haser photographed sets of identical twins and made them into identical jigsaw puzzles. She then swapped every other piece of their puzzles, completely mixing them half and half. Not always knowing where their eyes mouth, and lips would end up, the result is a pair of eerie, unrecognizable portraits.