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After Dark: LASERs

Red lasers against a white background
After Dark: LASERs

Come celebrate the amazing technology that is LASERs at the Exploratorium! May 16 is the International Day of Light, a holiday that commemorates the first time a LASER was successfully fired in 1960. Visit us this Thursday night to play with LASER demonstrations, learn about refraction through different materials, and watch restored footage from the original Laserium.

Full-Spectrum Science: LASERs
8:00 p.m.
Kanbar Forum
With Ron Hipschman

Join Exploratorium scientist Ron Hipschman for colorful explorations of the physical world. Learn what’s special about LASER light, how it’s made, and how it’s used in everything from DVD players to eye surgery to fusion energy research.

Since joining the Exploratorium in 1971, Ron Hipschman has worked as an exhibit developer, author, teacher, and webcast host. He currently works on the Exploratorium’s Environmental Initiative, implementing and maintaining a collection of environmental monitoring sensors and developing visualizations for the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery’s super-resolution media wall. In addition to Full-Spectrum Science, Ron hosts Everything Matters: Tales from the Periodic Table on his Youtube channel

Your Own LASER Light Show
6:30–8:00 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3
With Ron Hipschman

Play with a LASER synthesizer and create your own swirling, squiggling, full-spectrum pattern of light on our gallery walls! The control allows you to toggle the color, speed, and patterns emitted from a professional LASER projector.

7:30 p.m.
Kanbar Forum
Presented by Cinema Arts

Presented in 16mm, LaserImage is an 11-minute film that introduced the world to LASER light shows. Shot as a pitch for an hour-long show for the Griffith Observatory Planetarium, the film was created by Ivan Dryer in the early 1970s. Ivan’s technique of shooting colorful LASER lights against a black background and synchronizing their movements to instrumental music paved the way for LASER shows as we know it.

Ivan Dryer was the originator of commercial LASER light shows whose career began in filmmaking. In the early 1970s, Ivan partnered with Dr. Elsa Garmire, a California Institute of Technology physicist, to create a show for the Griffith Observatory Planetarium in Los Angeles. LaserImage was shot as their pitch in an attempt to capture the beauty and fluidity of LASER lights. 

Laser Demo
6:30–9:30 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3
With the Explainers

Discover the Explroatorium's LASER Table! Learn why LASERs are so unique and experiment with them in a hands-on demonstration.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase at our Seaglass Restaurant and additional bar locations.