This remarkable stone is a gorgeous clear blue color. Pure topaz is clear but most topaz stones form with some impurities that cause the stones to be colored blue, red, brown, yellow, gray, green and even pink. Pale and sky blue topaz are prized for jewelry pieces.
Although this stones seems enormous, it is certainly nowhere near the size of the largest known cut topaz stones. In Brazil, colorless pure topaz have been found in sizes as large as boulders. The largest cut topaz, also from Brazil, is the El-Dorado Topaz that is 31,000 carats. Another well known cut topaz, the American Golden Topaz at the Smithsonian is 22,892.5 carats.
Topaz is an 8 on the hardness scale of gemstones which puts it near the hardest and toughest stones known to man. Diamonds used for jewelry and even on saw blades are a 10 on the hardness scale. If you have topaz or diamond jewelry it should be stored away from other stones because it may scratch the surfaces of softer gems.
This stone was donated to MOSI by a gentleman in the late years of his life who wished to leave a legacy piece to a local museum. The stone is not currently on display in the museum so these pictures give you a special backstage peek at a truly beautiful gemstone.
The Back to School Fair at MOSI on August 15th will have everything you need to prepare, protect and inspire your child before they go back to school. Health & Wellness, Safety, Private Schools, Childcare and Learning Centers, Local Resources, Afterschool Programs, Tutors, Children Retailers and more!!
Bring the whole family and for $10 per person they will enjoy all of MOSI’s exhibits including the new ANIMATION featuring Cartoon Network along with enjoying free activities, arts & crafts, games, workshops, live entertainment and informative speaker sessions- all day. Thousands of dollars worth of prizes given away every hour including tickets to the Jonas Brothers Concert. Come meet Scooby Doo, Dexter and Toots live in person. (MOSI members are free to the back to school event . ANIMATION featuring Cartoon Network exhbit fees apply )
The first 100 kids at the event will get a free back to school goodie bag filled with supplies and goodies from Tootsville.com and MEAD
Visit the MOSI website to download contestant application and rules. Characters of all ages welcome.
Lava Lamps: Lava lamps, also known as liquid motion lamps, have been around since the 60's. They are very cool to watch but there are some neat principles of science in action.
So how does a liquid motion lamp work? Liquid motion lamps require the use of two insoluble, near equal density liquids and a heat source used for adjusting the density of the liquids. Now lets break that down into bite sized pieces.
Liquids: One liquid forms the slow moving blobs, like in the picture, we will call this Red. The other liquid allows the blobs to float about, we'll call this liquid Purple.
- These liquids must be immiscible, or mutually insoluble. This means that neither liquid will dissolve the other like oil and water and that Red and Purple will remain separate.
- These liquids must be of a nearly equal density.
When turned off, liquid motion lamps appear to have two distinct layers of liquids . One is just slightly more dense than the other and lays on the bottom of the lamp. In our case the Red liquid is slightly more dense than the Purple liquid. Being more dense causes the Red liquid to sink to the bottom.Heat: The heat source in a liquid motion lamp is generally a light bulb or lamp. As you likely know, light bulbs can get pretty hot when they have been turned on. When the lamp is turned on it heats up the slightly more dense Red liquid at the bottom of the lamp.
Changing the temperature of a compound is an easy way to change density. When a compound is heated the molocules in the compound spread apart making it less dense. As the density decreases, the compond become lighter and will rise above heavier, more dense compounds. For example, think of air: hot air rises and cold air sinks. Heated air becomes less dense and becomes "lighter" which causes it to rise above the more dense, "heavier" cool air.Much like hot air, the Red liquid at the bottom of the lamp will become less dense as it is heated. This makes the Red liquid "lighter" and it begins to rise in blobs through the Purple liquid.
As they rise through the Purple liquid and away from the heat source, the Red blobs lose heat. This causes the molecules in the Red liquid to move closer together and this increases the density of the Red liquid. The Red blobs are become more dense than the Purple liquid and sink back to the bottom. At the bottom the Red liquid is warmed up again and the process repeats until you turn off the lamp and all the Red liquid cools down.
This really neat Wiki How article shows you how to make a liquid motion lamp with household items and no heat! Be a scientist at home!
MOSI is always looking for a few good volunteers: As the “face of MOSI” volunteers help guide, teach and enlighten museum guests. We are looking for energetic, interested and exciting individuals to help bring MOSI’s exhibits to life. If you are an outgoing individual with a desire to work with people and enjoy a wide range of opportunities, then MOSI is looking for you. Morning and afternoon shifts are available Monday through Sunday. All of MOSI’s volunteers must be 14 years of age or older. Additionally, volunteers must be willing to commit to a minimum number of shifts per week and a minimum number of consecutive weeks of volunteer service.
Follow this link for more information on volunteering at MOSI and for the MOSI volunteer application!
Making Herkimer Diamonds:
Approximately half a billion years ago the shallow Cambrian Sea lapped against the base of the ancestral Adirondack Mountains in the area now known as Herkimer County, New York. Limey sediments slowly accumulated and became compacted by more and more sediment under the salty waters where they formed into a rock strata of dolostone. Dolostone is a sedimentary carbonate rock rich in mineral domomite and is often known as dolomite rock. Still beneath the ocean, water seeped through this rock and dissolved away pockets known as "vugs". Inside these vugs the tiny crystals began to form, often thousands in one place.
Several of our crystals on display contain anthraxolite and one has a distinctly smoky color.
To see our collection of Herkimer Diamonds head into the Science Library just off of the MOSI Grand Lobby. The Science Alcove collections are located at the back of the library on the right hand side. Minerals, fossils, shells, vintage calculators, bird eggs, shark teeth and mounted butterflies are just some of the collections on display. The Herkimer diamonds are displayed on a black cloth on the bottom shelf of the display cabinets. Look for the sparkle!
Passionvines (Passiflora spp) are vining plants and several species are native to Florida. Not here just for their gorgeous flowers, these vines are also hosts to the Variegated Fritillary, Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Longwing and Julia Longwing butterflies. If you plant these vines in your home garden expect to see some caterpillars.
For more on butterflies and the plants in our gardens check out the BioWorks Butterfly Garden blog entitled Tales from the Butterfly Garden.
Since April of 2007 Naomi May has provided an ASTOUNDING 1459 hours of volunteer service at MOSI. She has a special touch when taking care of our caterpillars and gardens alike and Naomi is great helping to get other volunteers oriented and trained in the gardens.
Naomi volunteers faithfully in the gardens every Monday and Friday and spends great swaths of the rest of her week volunteering at her church in the bell choir and in their gardens.
Without volunteers like Naomi, and especially without Naomi herself, there is no way we could get everything done that is necessary to keep the butterfly garden running smoothly. Thanks Naomi and congratulations!