Charles Carlson, a former Senior Scientist at the Exploratorium, has been in the field of informal science learning since 1971. He’s built over 150 exhibits and led the development of many large exhibitions, and he founded and directed the Life Sciences department at the Exploratorium. His formal training was in biology and human behavior at the University of California, Berkeley, where he became fascinated with marine biology and life’s diversity, and he also developed a deep interest in the cellular aspects of science. Charles worked closely with the Exploratorium’s founding director Frank Oppenheimer as the field of informal science education and interactive exhibits blossomed, and he’s created technically advanced exhibits including microelectrode recordings from individual neurons and sophisticated presentations with microscopes, as well as some of the first-ever displays using sterile technique and cell culturing.
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.
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.