GREAT LAKES SCIENCE CENTER OPENING
STRANGE MATTER ON MAY 29
Make slime, smash glass and squish your hands in magnetic fluid
As you explore the “study of stuff”
April 30th, 2010
CLEVELAND (April 30, 2010) – Great Lakes Science Center is introducing its newest exhibition, Strange Matter. Opening May 29 and running through January 3, 2011, this exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to explore the fascinating world of materials science or, put simply, the “study of stuff.”
Strange Matter demonstrates how high-tech, advanced materials are incorporated into everyday things such as antennas, DVD players and golf clubs. With more than a dozen interactive exhibits, visitors can make their own slime to take home with them, smash a pane of glass with a bowling ball to see if it will break, squish their hands in magnetic fluid and much more.
Visitors will also be challenged to think like materials scientists as they journey into the Strange Matter demo theater. From slime to morphing metals, they can discover the secrets behind everyday stuff and new cutting-edge materials. The incredible insulating properties of aerogel (a foam) will be dramatically demonstrated with a blow torch. Visitors can help mix up polymers and try some destructive testing of their own with the amazing “Crusher” machine.
“This exhibition provides such a wide variety of unique experiences for our visitors, young and old, that they won’t find anywhere else,” said Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver, president and CEO of the Science Center. “Our mission is to stimulate interest and increase understanding of the sciences, and this exhibition provides us the perfect opportunity to give an in-depth look at one of the most important fields in science and how it affects us in our everyday lives.”
Strange Matter features more than a dozen incredible “Experience Pods” that include hands-on experiences, plus information on just where to find some of these fascinating materials in our everyday lives.
• Amorphous Metal – Meet the future of metals. The unusual structure of amorphous metals makes them incredibly hard. Drop one ball bearing on a platform made of amorphous metal and another on a platform made of metal with a normal crystalline atomic structure. The result is astounding: watch as one bounces for an impossibly long time.
• Memory Metals – Discover that metal has a memory. Nitinol has both shape memory and superelasticity. When heated, this metal “remembers” by returning to its original shape. Test this property by stomping on Nitinol flowers, then return them back to their original shape by blowing heat on them. This amazing metal also bends under pressure but snaps back into shape when pressure is removed – a handy feature for eyeglass frames and orthodontic braces.
• Smash the Glass – Crank up a 16-lb bowling ball and let it fly. Visitors will investigate whether heat-tempered glass has the strength to withstand the shock or if it will shatter. A counter will allow visitors to keep track of how many times the glass has been hit. Visitors will also get to explore the differences between ordinary glass and tempered glass.
• Structures and Defects – Are defects always bad? It depends on the properties the materials scientist is trying to create. Play with a sheet of ball bearings and discover how this simple model can be used to investigate the role “grain boundaries” play in creating stronger metals.
• Amazing Magnetic Liquids – Squish your gloved hand around in a vat of magneto-rheological fluid and feel it morph from fluid to solid when you apply a magnetic force. Make a pool of magnetic ferrofluid “dance” and manipulate their blobs with rare-earth magnets. Explore the surprising properties of these materials and discover how their unusual micro-structure makes them useful in many diverse areas, from the operating room to your home entertainment center or laundry room.
• Foam – Explore which materials contain elements of foam from beer, bread and spittlebugs to space applications from NASA. Watch an astonishing column of foam grow towards the ceiling and uncover its surprising composition. Marvel at the lightest material ever made – aerogel – and see its weight balanced by tiny pieces of silca.
• Crystals – Crystals are in almost every solid from snowflakes to metal pots and pans. Visitors will learn how crystal growth occurs in many types of materials. You can watch the beautiful real-time growth of complex patterns in crystals and see a smaller version of the world’s largest crystal.
• Touch Tables – Younger visitors can discover materials through hands-on experimentation. Put different materials under the lens of a microscope camera to see how they look magnified larger than life. Play tunes on a wooden xylophone and a xylophone of mixed materials – how are the sounds different? Tumble tubes to see how a solid material can flow like a liquid.
• ZOOM – The visitor becomes the materials scientist as they get a look at materials from the macro (naked-eye) scale down to the nano scale. Reveal intricate structures and find out how scientists “feel” atoms using atomic force microscopes.
• Sand to Supercomputers – Silicon is the cornerstone of materials science – find out why. Follow the painstaking process through which sand is transformed into the microchips that are now an integral part of so much of modern life.
Promotions and Programming
Great Lakes Science Center has developed several special programs offered in conjunction with the exhibition:
Strange Matter Benefit
Saturday, June 12; 7:30 p.m.
Benefit attendees can help support education programs at Great Lakes Science Center and treat themselves to an evening of fun and entertainment. Attendees can enjoy cocktails and a buffet supper, tour the Strange Matter exhibition, watch amazing science demonstrations themed around the exhibition and see an OMNIMAX movie. Tickets can be reserved online at http://www.glsc.org/strange_matter/strange_matter_benefit.php.
Teacher Preview Event – FREE
Wednesday, June 2; 5 p.m.
Great Lakes Science Center is hosting an event just for teachers. Come to a special teacher preview and see the Strange Matter exhibition for free. The evening also includes a free screening of the new OMNIMAX film, Under the Sea and complimentary refreshments. Teachers will get to meet the Science Center education staff and get a head start on planning their next field trip.
Admission is free, but reservations are necessary. Call (216) 621-2400 to register.
Extreme Science Night
June 19; 7 – 11:30 p.m.
Celebrate Dad this Father’s Day with a night of extreme science fun. Attendees will get to explore the Strange Matter exhibition, tour the Steamship William G. Mather, watch an OMNIMAX movie, see exploding watermelons and enjoy hands-on activities that explore all sorts of really strange matter.
Tickets are $24 per person. Call (216) 621-2400 to register.
More great programs will be scheduled throughout the summer. Check the website for details: http://www.glsc.org/strange_matter/strange_matter_programs.php.
Great Summer Science Day Camps – Preschool, K-8 and High School
June 14 – August 20
Great Lakes Science Center hosts exciting weeklong summer camps for kids in preschool and K-8, plus the new High School Summer Science Institute. In conjunction with the Strange Matter exhibition, the Science Center will be hosting numerous camps revolving around the exciting field of materials science. They include:
• Icky Sticky (preschool) – June 14 – 18 or July 12 – 16
• Chemical Connections (grades K-1) – June 28 – July 2 or August 2 – 6
• Messy Mixtures (grades 2-3) – July 5 – 9 or August 9 – 13
• Experimenting with Elements (grades 6-8) – July 26 – 30
• Materials Science (grades 6-8) – June 28 – July 2
All camps run from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Details at www.greatscience.com/summercamps2010 or call (216) 621-2400.
Admission to the exhibition is free to Great Lakes Science Center members. Exhibition entry is
$14.95 for adult non-members and $12.95 for children, and includes admission to the hundreds of hands-on exhibits at the Science Center as well as the new NASA Glenn Visitor Center.
Strange Matter is presented by the Materials Research Society. This exhibition and its tour are made possible by the generous support of the National Science Foundation, Dow, Ford Motor Company Fund, Intel® Innovation in Education, Rio Tinto Alcan and the 3M Foundation.
This local presentation is made possible by ArcelorMittal, K12 and the Ohio Virtual Academy, The Lubrizol Foundation, Dominion Resources, Laurel School, the John P. Murphy Foundation and Timken. This exhibition is generously funded by the residents of Cuyahoga County through Cultural Arts and Culture.
About Great Lakes Science Center
Great Lakes Science Center is one of the nation’s leading science and technology centers and home to Northeast Ohio’s NASA Glenn Visitor Center. Its mission is to stimulate interest in and increase understanding of the sciences, with a particular emphasis on the interdependence of scientific, environmental and technological activities in the Great Lakes region. It features hundreds of hands-on exhibits, themed traveling exhibits, daily demonstrations, the awe-inspiring OMNIMAX® Theater and the Steamship William G. Mather. The Science Center is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Discounted parking is available for guests in the attached 500-car garage. Great Lakes Science Center is generously funded by the citizens of Cuyahoga County through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. For more information, contact the Science Center at (216) 694-2000 or visit www.GreatScience.com.
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