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Strange Matter at the Liberty Science Center
November 28, 2003

Metals with Memory? Frozen “Smoke”?
It's Strange and It's Science!

Don't miss the national debut of a brand new traveling exhibition
that will be discussed for years to come: Strange Matter 

Jersey City , NJ – ( November 28, 2003 ) – Enter the fascinating world of materials and uncover 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 our everyday lives, from basketball backboards and cell phone antennas to DVD players and golf clubs.

On view at Liberty Science Center January 31- May 2, 2004 , Strange Matter helps guests examine the always amazing and sometimes bizarre world of modern materials, providing a glimpse of where the future of materials research might take us.

The 6,000 square foot exhibition offers scores of interactive experiences, allowing people of all ages to investigate the structure of exotic, as well as of ordinary materials, and discover what gives them their intriguing and remarkable properties. Ten different exhibition areas and a live demonstration theater are included in the exhibition.

Zoom! takes participants from the larger, macro scale of the world we see around us to the incredibly tiny nanoscale where scientists investigate and manipulate individual atoms using atomic force microscopes.

Crank up a bowling ball and let it fly! In Smash the Glass , guests discover whether a large pane of heat-tempered glass has the strength to withstand a direct strike from a bowling ball. The glass will shatter at some point -- who'll break it? Find out how many whacks the pane withstood and why it finally shattered, then learn where this special glass is used, from professional basketball arenas to our own kitchens.

Play with amazing Magnetic Liquids to determine whether they are solids, liquids or both. Guests swish gloved hands through a magneto-rheological fluid and, using magnets, morph it from a fluid to a solid and back again. Investigate how ferrofluids (fluids in which minute iron particles are suspended) are used, such as in your family room audio system.

Bend and twist nitinol (nickle-titanium) metal and see what happens when it's heated. Unlike other metals, nitinol, an astonishing example of a Memory Metal , returns to its original shape with a blast of hot air. Learn what gives nitinol its properties and how it is being used in eyeglass and brassiere frames, during cardiac surgery and for orthodontic braces.

Foam is found in cushions, inside bones, atop glasses of beer and is even used by NASA in space. Watch a dramatic column of foam grow towards the ceiling and learn about its surprising composition. Discover why foams are so useful. Is it primarily their insulating properties? Their lightweight strength? Other attributes? Then check out the lightest solid in the world – aerogel -- also known as “frozen smoke.” It weighs almost nothing but behaves like glass in many ways.

Younger children can discover materials through hands-on experimentation at the Touch Table . Put different materials under the lens of a microscope camera to see how they look when magnified. 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.

Other exhibit experiences include: checking out the one of the world's hardest materials in Amorphous Metal ; watching Crystals grow; discovering how scientists control Structure and Defects to create certain properties in materials; and finding out about silicon, the material that led to the computer revolution in Sand to Supercomputers .

Liberty Science Center will also present demonstrations that delve deeper into the secrets of everyday stuff. Following each demonstration, visitors can become materials scientists themselves by creating a polymer.

Strange Matter features 6,000 square feet of interactive experiences developed, designed and fabricated by the Ontario Science Centre and is presented by the Materials Research Society, a not-for-profit scientific association founded in 1973 to promote interdisciplinary, goal-oriented research on materials of technological importance. The Society includes more than 12,500 scientists from industry, government, academia and research laboratories in the United States and nearly 50 other countries. Funding for Strange Matter is provided by the National Science Foundation, Alcan, Dow, Ford Motor Company Fund and 3M Foundation.

Directions and Information: Liberty Science Center is close to home! Take the NJ Turnpike to Exit 14B (from the east) or 14C (from the west) or reach Liberty Science Center by taking the PATH train to the Pavonia-Newport or Exchange Place station in Jersey City, then transferring to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail traveling towards East 34 th Street or West Side Avenue. Exit at Liberty State Park and walk less than a block to Liberty Science Center . The trip takes about 45 minutes from midtown Manhattan . For information about traveling by ferry or bus, exhibit floor and IMAX â hours, prices and special attractions, call 201.200.1000 or visit our website at

Dedicated to inspiring imagination and creativity through adventures in interactive discovery, Liberty Science Center is the NJ-NY area's preeminent not-for-profit science education center. Liberty Science Center has welcomed over seven million guests since opening in January 1993.

For more information, please contact:

Media Contacts: 201.451.0006
Dina Schipper, Ext. 278
Dalya Ewais, Ext. 263

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Anita B. Miller
Manager, Marketing and Member Services, Materials Research Society

Tel: 724-779-3004 x551
Fax: 724-779-8313


Liberty Science Center
Media Contacts:
Tel: 201.451.0006
Dina Schipper, Ext.278
Dalya Ewais, Ext. 263