Science Storms: Evidence Design

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago now hosts a 40 foot tornado, almost constantly churning, in the permanent exhibit, Science Storms.  Revelers are treated to a host of natural phenomena that one can actually command with toggle switches, dials and other dynamic controls, much like scientists might in a labratory.  While building and directing the tornado, children learn the science of a vortex first-hand.  Similarly, one can experiment with light, gravity, air pressure, lightning (via a massive Tesla coil) and even a scaled tsunami tank.  Never before has physics been more fun.

Evidence Design of Brooklyn was brought in early to consult on the project, but eventually were asked to assume all design responsibilities.  Shari Berman, one of two partners at Evidence, directed us for three days in Chicago while we shot virtually all aspects of the exhibit.  Her tireless efforts carried the day: firing the Tesla coil repeatedly, focusing the massive prisms, directing the tornado, steering the avalanche disc, and patiently coaxing children to handle the control panels in ways that facilitated our photographic needs.

One might think that this is a kid’s exhibit, but more than once I saw fathers completely take over from their children, and watched as their faces assumed the same gleeful expressions as their giddy offspring.  Not to be missed are the glass cases containing scientific ephemera, including original writings of Sir Isaac Newton, and one of the first telescopes to view neighboring planets.

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5 Responses to “Science Storms: Evidence Design”
  1. Sebastian says:

    I read a good article about the design of this exhibit here: http://www.metropolismag.com/story/20100721/the-thrill-of-science.

    • Sebastian, thanks for the link. That article was written by none other than the esteemed Belinda Lanks, who I worked on the job with at Metropolis. If you have the chance to meet her, you’ll be immediately enchanted.

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