MOST Classics

From a South Clinton Street storefront to the landmark Armory Building, relive the excitement that visitors of all ages remember with a selection of classic exhibits from the last forty years of hands-on science learning at the MOST. From giant bubble rings and powerful magnets to plasma balls and immersive light experiences, you and your family are invited to join us as we celebrate four decades of scientific exploration!

Among many other applications, plasma is used today as a very precise scalpel in operations, to cauterize wounds or sanitize, for example. Additionally, plasma treatment is used in manufacturing to remove foreign contaminants from materials so they can be further processed. This treatment can be done at low temperatures which is good for heat sensitive materials. It is especially good for plastics which are prone to losing their printing/coating due to their glossy texture unless they are treated. Plasma can change the atomic structure of substances, so in the future there is potential for it to be used to eradicate toxic substances.  

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Bubbles are fun but they are also very useful in today’s world! Gas nano bubbles are used to help separate crude oil from water which can be extremely difficult.  Nano bubbles are extremely small and can attach to oil droplets to help speed the rise rate of oil through water.  Once at the surface, the oil can be skimmed off the top so the water can be cleaned.  Bubbles are also being used in target drug delivery.  The medication is placed in tiny bubbles which are injected into the blood stream.  When they encounter the unhealthy area of the body, ultrasound waves are used to burst the bubbles.  Medication that is delivered directly to the area, such as tumors, is more effective and less harmful to the rest of the body.

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The study of water electrolysis has sparked curious minds since the early 1800’s. When an electrical current comes into contact with water, it creates an energy conversion. The water to breaks down and separates into Hydrogen, “H,” and Oxygen, “O,” gas resulting in a more efficient and cleaner environment. In recent years, scientists have developed many advancements with the help of modern technology to use the electrolysis of water to create solar powered technology to help clean and purify our oceans and surrounding waters.

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The pendulum was discovered in early 1600’s by Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens and later studied by famous Italian astronomer Galileo. It is designed to use kinetic, potential, and gravitational energy which is created from a heavy weight that swings back and forth, creating force and energy. When the pendulum is hung from a secure point, the object swings freely, causing the pendulum to swing from side to side. In recent years, pendulums are used to detect earthquakes, keep time, and more. 

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Traditional thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are traditionally made from ingots that are then machined/processed to their final module shape/configuration. This process is very energy-intensive, limits the materials that can be used to create TEG, and as a result, limits the applications of TEGs to larger-scale operations (heat recovery from factory heat exhaust, etc.) The benefit from using electricity generated from traditionally manufactured TEGs is often outweighed by the low efficiency, high toxicity, and manufacturing costs of current TEG technology. However, recent advancements in additive manufacturing and printed electronics technology have enabled new fabrication methods for flexible devices, which brings several advantages including low-temperature vacuum-less process, lower equipment cost, smaller module size production, and applicability to flexible substrates. Wearable technologies and small electronic devices could greatly benefit from utilizing TEGs to power themselves by harvesting wasted thermal energy from chips powering those devices or from naturally occurring heat sources such as the human body.

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Piezoelectricity was discovered in the 1880s and is often associated with devices such as microphones, quartz-powered watches, or inkjet printers. Over the past 20 years, personal electronic device manufacturers have been looking at ways to simulate mechanical feedback to enhance user experience, more commonly known as haptic technology. This has been traditionally accomplished through the use of small vibrating motors (eccentric rotating mass/ERM motors), however, this ends up vibrating the whole device. Piezoelectric film actuators, being only 150µm thick, can be embedded right onto the device surface and can be used to provide localized haptic feedback as well as mimicking specific material textures, which cannot be produced through current haptic feedback technologies.

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Scientists are studying the power music has over the human brain especially as it pertains to physical and mental health and even how it can support recovery in Covid-19 patients. Up to 80% of ICU patients with respiratory failure experience delirium and researchers are learning about how music interventions impact their healing through the help of Sound Health, a program launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Kennedy Center in association with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). A pilot study showed that patients with delirium on mechanical ventilators who listened to slow-tempo music for seven days spent one day less in delirium and a medically induced coma compared to those who listened to their favorite music or an audiobook. Scientists are hoping to develop a solid evidence base and uncover what types of music intervention works for whom, when, and how.

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