Lower these rings into the Bay and see just how far you can see into the water. One of the San Francisco Bay’s defining features, sediment flows from the delta change with the seasons. This exhibit is based on a scientific observational instrument called a “secchi disk,” which scientists use to determine water clarity.
This 3-D sculpture is animated when spun under a strobe light. The bloom’s animation effect is achieved by progressive rotations of the golden ratio, phi (ϕ), the same ratio that nature employs to generate the spiral patterns we see in pinecones and sunflowers.
With the rope hanging down, the left and right sides of the board appear identical. Lifting the rope shows the dramatic difference that your eyes missed—and continue to miss, as soon as you let the rope fall again.
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.
A rotating structure made of laths casts shadows that slowly change, calling to mind the shifting light of a day or a season and producing unexpected variations. Benches allow for relaxation and quiet watching.
Soap film hits the big time at this exhibit, featuring a giant square soap bubble the size of a picture window. The cascading colors you see here arise from overlapping light waves that reflect from the front and back surfaces of the soap film—a phenomenon called interference.
If you think shadows are a straightforward business, prepare for a surprise—actually, a whole bunch of surprises. Combining various light sources in various ways, you’ll quickly discover that there’s nothing simple about a simple shadow.
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.
Ordinarily, water freezes too slowly to be appreciated. Here, polarized light and an ultra cold slab let you watch water crystalize rapidly in real time. The colorful mosaic of ice that forms is different every time.