November 15, 2005

The Exploratorium

Put Your Nose Here

We celebrated Nani’s 19th birthday on Saturday with a trip to the Exploratorium.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been there and I’m always amazed how little it changes between visits and how fun every visit is. Of course, nowadays part of the fun is watching the kids run around and interact with everything. The Exploratorium distinguishes itself, I think, because visitors can interact with everything. And you’re usually not forced to consider the scientific principles in order to enjoy each exhibit. Rather, because you’re enjoying the exhibit, you want to understand it.

The photo is of an installation which demonstrates how you’re more likely to notice moving objects in your peripheral vision than stationary objects. You manipulate a doo-whacky* at the end of a metal bar to the point at which you’re unable to see it, then press a button to make it spin. At which point it becomes clearly visible. Of course, that’s understandable without going through the exercise, but who can resist following such an enticing instruction? :)

If you’ve been thinking about going, do so. If you can’t make it, check out this list of online exhibits.

* Here’s a short list of words Mac OS X suggested as correct spellings for “doo-whacky”: do-whacky, boo-whacky, coo-whacky, goo-whacky, moo-whacky, too-whacky, woo-whacky, zoo-whacky, and (of course) do-o-whacky.