Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Science Museum of Boston

One of my favorite places in Boston is the Science Museum. It's great for kids, but adults can have a blast here too. I went here last week with a friend of mine who fortunately had a membership and got us in for free. Otherwise the price is now a whopping $22 per person for admission. We also got tickets to the planetarium to see "Cosmic Collisions" where I learned how scientists now think the moon was formed and what will happen to our galaxy in billions of years. 

 Static Electricity 

My favorite part of the museum which I make a special point to see whenever I go, is the Lightning Show. I've seen it probably 10 times... at least in my life, probably more, but I never get tired of it. Who can resist seeing the worlds largest Van de Graff generator in action along with giant Tesla coils playing music?

I tried to get the lightning spark here, but this cage is being zapped by lighting from the Van de Graff generator behind it. And what is she doing? yes, she is touching the metal cage that is being struck by the lighting. Why isn't she being electrocuted? It's because the electricity only travels on the outside of the metal, making it perfectly safe to be touching the inside of the metal cage... or being inside of a metal frame car if you are struck by lightning. 

I took the above photo while this Tesla coil played a song for us from the buzz it makes each time the lightning is emited. Now, to the naked eye, there was actually only one spark being released at a time, but my camera which was probably on a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second (sorry, don't know exactly, could have been longer) picked up all of these sparks in that short frame of time. That gives you some idea of how frequently these sparks were being emitted. 

But that's not all the museum has to offer. Here below you see a working model of the Mars rover. 

A display of the birds in our neighborhood, including the pink plastic lawn flamingo. And if you checked the computer screen in front, you could get all sorts of data on any of these species and learn about the flight patterns and calls of the pink lawn flamingo (or the Canadian goose, raven, etc etc)

Here's a before and after for you. That egg above with the wing hanging out... that became the chick you see below and we were lucky enough to see it actually come out of the shell on it's own. 

This pendulum above is actually a clock. It keeps time because as the Earth spins the pendulum moves and knocks down a series of pins on the mosaic below which represent the hours of the day. 

And I couldn't help but photographing these adorable stuffed creatures from the gift shop. The big one is the cuddly common cold virus, and below, you have a cute little mono virus. Don't these make the perfect gifts???

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