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Strange Matter

Special Limited Engagement Exhibition

Discover the secrets of everyday stuff!

Test stuff, break stuff, mix stuff, heat stuff… and discover how strange matter can be!

Strange Matter, our newest hands-on exhibition, uses science to explore the bizarre world of modern materials and offers a glimpse into where the future might take us.

Dive into the world of materials science -- the study of "stuff." A dynamic blend of physics, chemistry and engineering, this field of research studies how things are put together, how they might be improved, or how they can be changed to create brand new materials.

From metals to magnets to glass, Strange Matter gives us the chance to dig into the science behind the materials we use every day.

Exhibition highlight include:

Amazing Magnetic Liquids: Manipulate a magnet, causing fluid to defy gravity, climb and move around.

Amorphous Metals: Play with a sheet of ball bearings by dropping them on different types of metals and discover how this simple model can be used to investigate the secret structures, strengths and weaknesses of metals.

Foam: Watch a dramatic column of foam expand toward the ceiling and marvel at aerogel, the lightest material ever made. Explore which materials contain elements of foam from beer, bread and more.

Materials Evolution: Could a strand of spider silk actually stop a 747 in flight? What do modern firefighters and medieval knights have in common? Study the fascinating and often unexpected development of materials throughout history, from "The Iceman" (3300 BCE) to the present world of the "Material Girl," while discovering which materials have played a key role in human civilization.

Memory Metals: Metal has a memory! Bend and twist a superelastic Nitinol metal ribbon and observe what happens when hot air is added.

Sand to Supercomputers: Touch the top of a giant, shining column of silicon grown from a "seed" in a lab, follow the painstaking process through which sand is transformed into microchips, and learn why there's a lot more to silicon than Silicon Valley.

Touch Table: Younger visitors can get a close look at the structure of common materials through a microscope and experiment with "Tumble Tubes" to watch a solid material flow like a liquid. Play tunes on a wooden xylophone and a xylophone of mixed materials. How are the sounds different?

Zoom!: Some things seem smooth to the naked eye, but what if you could get a closer peek? Reveal the intricate structures of objects by zooming from the macro to the nano scale.

Presented by The Materials Research Society.

This Exhibition and its tour are made possible by the generous support of the National Science Foundation, Dow, Ford Motor Company Fund, Intel Innovation in Education, Rio Tinto Alcan, and the 3M Foundation.

Photos and Videos

Presented By

At Discovery Place

January 26, 2013 - May 5, 2013

Educator Resources

Strange Matter Teacher's Guide

Strange Matter uses science to explore the bizarre world of modern materials and provide a glimpse o… View PDF