Once every every 18 years and 11 days, someone, somewhere in the world, can have a front-row seat to a total solar eclipse. Today, if you live in, say, Australia or South China, you can count yourself among the lucky ones. But for we San Franciscans, our own Exploratorium will be live streaming the whole celestial event.
More than 40 years ago, the Exploratorium first opened to the public thanks to physicist Frank Oppenheimer, with the hope of transforming the way people thought of science education by turning it into a hands-on experience. Today, the museum has grown too large to fit all of its aspirations into the original location at the Palace of Fine Arts.
The Exploratorium knows how to throw a party, and for the third year, they've turned their annual fundraising event (100% of proceeds from the event go to the museum's programming) into a grand 'ole time.
Thanks to the continued popularity of the now widespread mixology movement, everyone's getting behind the science of the drink. Learn the physics, chemistry, and biology about everything from alcohol's components and cocktail creation to inebriation and the dreaded hangover—all while sipping a martini, of course. SF's best mixers—Bloodhound's Brandon Josie, Ricky Paiva and Russell Davis of Rickhouse, former Rye bartender Doug Williams, and more—will be on hand to concoct a killer combo.
Don’t let the name scare you off—we’re not talking tie-dye and hippies or crayons and coloring books. Exploratorium’s ColorFest, which begins July 1, promises to school you in the science of color, all the way from perception to the physics of light refraction. Oaxacan artisans kick off the two-month festival with lessons in natural dyeing techniques using the cochineal insect. The labor-intensive process produces a pigment once as sought after as silver and gold. On July 16, the Mac-obsessed can learn about the influence color plays in industrial design from Beatrice Santiccioli, a branding expert for Apple.
Art meets science at tonight's Exploratorium event. This week's After Dark program gets wild as the museum transforms into a Mad Hatter's tea party. Except, instead of tea, you'll be sipping beer and wine. And, instead of getting lost in Alice's Wonderland, you'll hobnob with the ghosts of painter's past in a café de Paris setting.
Tom Rockwell sees an intimate connection – a oneness, even – between two things that “left brain, right brain” folk-science taught us were hopelessly separated: aesthetics and math. If you have ever declared yourself “not a math person,” a trip to Rockwell’s Geometry Playground at the Exploratorium may deliver a mind blowing much overdue. The exhibition aims to show the geometry in everything from hopscotch to high art. It goes up today and stays in SF until September 6. Come with your whole brain and, more importantly, your whole body.
Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, the Exploratorium has completed and opened MIND: The Science, Art, and Experience of Our Inner Lives. In addition to the 40 new additions to the permanent collection, MIND features temporary exhibits and special programs, all designed to help us understand the connections between perception, understanding, and cognition. Challenge a friend to tell you a lie at Poker Face; try to interpret feelings from eyes alone with The Eyes Have It; and learn just how hard it is to recognize celebrities at Fast Faces.
If you're anything like us, you've got a dose of the post-holiday blues, perhaps compounded by stomach-rumbling from that new diet or the nicotine shakes. Luckily, there's one resolution in 2010 that's easy to keep: "Resolution" is the theme of Thursday's Exploratorium After Dark, the science discovery museum's series of events targeted at an adult crowd. This resolution, however, refers not to that promise to hit the gym more often, but to the basis of perception: the fine differences that allow us to perceive a variety of tastes, touches, and smells (and that probably got us into trouble with all those donuts and cigarettes in the first place).