It's Strange and It's Science!
July 30 , 2005
New Exhibit Opens Saturday, October 1, 2005
DURHAM, NC () - Ask anyone to name a field
of scientific endeavor and they may mention medicine, physics,
chemistry or even entomology. But materials science? Even if you
prompt them, all you may get is a blank look.
Yet materials, and the science that creates and studies them,
surround us in the modern world. In fact, in most suburban and
city environments, there is far more man-made material than natural.
Strange Matter, the newest traveling exhibit at the
Museum of Life and Science, Durham (October 1, 2005 - January 8,
2006) examines the always amazing and sometimes bizarre world of
modern materials, providing a glimpse of where the future of materials
research might take us.
Materials scientists are creating entirely new types of materials--such
as buckyballs and nanotubes, very tiny spheres or cylinders made
of carbon atoms. Aerogels are extremely lightweight porous materials
made almost entirely of air! Nanotechnology is taking materials
science into a new dimension, as scientists create new materials
atom-by-atom and molecule-by-molecule, leading to properties and
performance never before imagined.
Strange Matter (
October 1, 2005-January 8, 2006)
In the past, people used and changed materials by trial and error
using large, visible scales. Modern materials scientists manipulate
and change materials based on fundamental understandings of how
the materials are put together, often on the invisibly tiny scale
of atoms. So, how small is that? To make a speck as big as the
period at the end of this sentence, you'd need trillions of
The “materials world” uncovers the surprising science
behind the stuff we use every day. Space exploration and cardiac
surgery are known for their use of advanced materials, but materials
with amazing qualities are also part of everyday things, from basketball
backboards and cell phones, to antennas, DVD players and golf clubs.
Strange Matter investigates the structure of exotic,
as well as ordinary materials, and reveals what gives them their
intriguing and remarkable properties:
Each Experience Pod includes interactive exhibits, a micrograph
of a close-up look at the material’s structure - revealing
the hidden world of materials science, and info on just where to
find some of these fascinating materials in your everyday life.
Amazing Magnetic Liquids
Magnetic liquids are liquids that can respond to magnets – this
is done by suspending microscale or nanoscale magnetic particles
in fluid. In this area, you can play with both. Using magnets,
manipulate a pool of ferrofluid and make it ‘dance.’ This
material is put to use in many diverse areas, from the operating
room to your home entertainment centre.
Younger children can discover materials through hands-on experimentation.
Put different materials under the lens of a microscope camera to
see how they look magnified larger than life. Play tunes on a wooden
xylophone and a xylophone of mixed materials – do similar
materials sound the same? Tumble tubes to see how a solid material
can flow like a liquid.
Get a look at materials from the macro (or naked-eye) scale down
to the nano scale. Intricate structures are revealed. Find out
how scientists “feel” atoms using atomic force microscopes.
Be the materials scientist and get down to details.
Structures and Defects
Are defects always bad? It depends on the properties the materials
scientist is trying to create. Play with a sheet of ball bearings
and discover how this simple model can be used to investigate the
role ‘grain boundaries’ play in creating stronger metals.
Drop the ball bearings to see which metal plate gives the ball
the most bounce. The ball that keeps going and going and going
is bouncing on a plate made of Liquidmetal® alloy, a type of
amorphous metal and, one of the world’s hardest materials.
Discover what makes it so hard and how this metal can improve your
golf game and help a patient in the operating room.
Material Science – Overview Video
How does materials science use atoms and molecules to design
the “stuff” of our everyday lives? How has it changed
human history and how does the performance of materials grow from
their structure, properties and processing? In this video, meet
materials scientists who bring it together.
Strange Matter is presented by the Materials
Research Society. This exhibition and its tour are made possible by the
generous support of the National Science Foundation, Alcan, Dow,
Ford Motor Company Fund, Intel® Innovation in Education and
the 3M Foundation.
The Museum of Life and Science’s mission
is to create a place of lifelong learning where people from young
child to senior citizen embrace science as a way of knowing
about themselves, their community and their world.
General Admission: $9.50 adult, $7.50
children age 3-12;
$7.50 seniors 65+ or active military;
free for children age two and younger.
Durham County residents every Wednesday from 1:00-5:00pm
For more information, please contact:
(919) 220-5429 ext. 323
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