Exhibit Highlights: Atom Gallery


The Mind Museum continues to enhance, update, and add new interactive exhibits to its five galleries. In this new series, we'll visit each of the galleries and take a closer look at the intriguing new exhibits developed for this year.

Alchemy to Chemistry1


Before the rise of modern chemistry flourished the tradition of alchemy. Practiced in the ancient times and the Middle Ages, alchemy was a prominent proto-science that differed significantly from chemistry because of its use of mysticism and spirituality. Their goals included developing an elixir of life, and creating the philosopher's stone. 

With the popularization of the scientific method, the methods of alchemists began to be questioned and critiqued, in favor of rigorous experimentation, quantitative measurement, and transparency in investigation and data collection.

As the years passed, new technology and instrumentation helped chemists to make new discoveries and catalyze the progression of this new science into what we now know as modern chemistry.

To operate the exhibit, you must rotate the exhibit's 'rings' to match the scientists (top ring) with the tools they used in their experiments, and align these with their corresponding descriptions.

Models of Particle Interaction: Feynman Diagrams2


Accompanied by a video on the Standard Model of particle physics, this exhibit shows several sample Feynman diagrams. These diagrams are representations of how subatomic particles interact over time, and the possible outcomes. The straight lines represent fermions (e.g. electrons and quarks), while the squiggly lines represent bosons (e.g. photons, gluons). By using these diagrams, you can calculate the probability that these interactions will occur.



Developed by physicist Richard Feynman, the diagrams also help to visualize mathematical expressions used in theoretical physics, specifically quantum electrodynamics. They were initially considered by Feynman's colleagues to be difficult to use, but guides on using the diagrams were later written and helped to popularize the use of the diagrams by other theoretical physicists.

Piano Stairs



Found at the entrance of the Light Bridge, climbing the Piano Stairs will trigger sounds through the speakers which you will hear as notes coming from a piano scale. But how are these sounds activated?

Each step shines a laser beam; as your foot crosses the path of the beam, the sound will begin to play. With this exhibit, you can make your own melody as you move up and down the steps.

Hologram



The exhibit is made up of two parabolic mirrors, along with the object to be projected. Parabolic mirrors are a special type of concave mirror, with two special properties: the light coming from an object at its focal point bounces off the mirror and is reflected as a beam parallel to the parabola's axis of symmetry, and parallel rays bouncing off the mirror converge at the same focal point.

The mirrors used in the exhibit are designed so that the focal point of one lies at the vertex of the other, when they are placed on top of each other. 


The object is placed at the focal point, fA. The light coming from the object hits Mirror B, and is reflected in parallel rays. These parallel rays hit Mirror A, reflecting it so it converges at fA. This creates an image at point fA, or the hologram.

To use the exhibit, you peer into the hole at the top of the structure, and look inside. If you stand and look at the right distance, you will see what looks like a solid 3D object in the center. You can try to touch it, but your hand will go through. 



In the next part of the series, we will feature the new exhibits in the Life and Earth Galleries. If you've yet to visit the museum (or even if you've visited before) and are fascinated by what you've read, book a trip with us and see them for yourself!

To learn more about the Mind Museum's upcoming and regular activities, visit our website, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


REFERENCES:

1. Kusserow, A. (February 25 2011). "International Year of Chemistry - The History of Chemistry." Retrieved from G.I.T. Laboratory Journal Europe website.
2. Kaiser, D. (2005). "Physics and Feynman's Diagrams." American Scientist 93.

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