Mathematical Quilts

Although MOSI is primarily a science center, we do have fairly regular art installations by artisans who create pieces that are a blend of art and science. Currently, one of these art exhibitions is a collection of quilts by Elaine Ellison who creates quilts that have mathematics at the core of their design concepts. The DSCN0119artist finds inspiration in mathematical sequences, architecture, and mathematics that occurs in nature.

Chartres Cathedral Quilt: "Chartres Cathedral labyrinth is an approximate golden rectangle. The gothic cathedral, begun in 1145, has a labyrinth on its’ floor. The cathedral marks the high point of French Gothic art. Pilgrims walk the labyrinth in reflection of their lives. A labyrinth has only one path. The architect of this cathedral is unknown.” –Elaine Ellison’s website

Buckeyballs and Bubbles - “This quilt turned out to be a tributeDSCN0121 to Richard Smalley, a professor who discovered the existence of the Buckeyball in soot. For centuries it was thought that the only two pure forms of carbon were hard sparkling diamonds and dull, slippery graphite. In l985, Smalley's team announce a third pure form of carbon C-60. The Buckeyball was named after Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome. The symmetry in the Buckeyball lends itself to applications in drug design, chemical sponges, miniature circuits, lubricants, catalysts, chemical probes in a scanning-fo rce microscope, batteries, molecular sieves, and possible use in photo copiers.” –Elaine Ellison’s website

About the Artist: Elaine Ellison, mathematical quilting artist

DSCN0123As the daughter of creative parents, I was fortunate to explore a variety of media from a very young age. My parents taught me the value of the arts in everyday life. Between my parents and the Central Michigan University Art Department, I was fortunate to explore drawing, painting, bronze work, photographs, woodworking, and textiles. My devotion to cloth peaked in the early l980’s when I read the book Geometry and the Visual Arts by Dan Pedoe. From this time, I have continued to explore the way that cloth can help me express mathematics geometrically.

My retirement from formal teaching in 2005 has given me time to develop more mathematical quilts. I continue to speak around the world at mathematics conferences, art museums, quilt groups and general interest groups. I have developed a wonderful PowerPoint presentation of my mathematical quilts that I share with interested groups.

Visit MOSI to see a beautiful collection of mathematical quilts on display in the 2nd floor connecting corridor gallery. You can also visit the artist’s website to learn more about Elaine and her work.


November Volunteer of the Month: Will Shumaker

Will Shumaker has been with MOSI since July of 1996. Over the course of his tenure, Mr. Shumaker has logged over 3,783 hours as a membership services volunteer. His work has been indespensible.

Will is an avid mountain and ice climber who enjoys movies, travel and phtography. Will also volunteers his time at the local greyhound rescue. He is very giving and seems to be friends with just about everyone!

A big thank you to Will for all he does to help make MOSI the great place that it is!


MOSI Wins Nation's Highest Award for Community Service

MOSI is excited to share with you that we have received the nation’s highest honor for community service - the 2009 National Medal for Museums, presented by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Out of 17,000 museums in the country, we are one of only 5 to receive this award!

We couldn’t have achieved this without the support of our members, visitors, donors and board members. Thank you for making MOSI one of the best Science Centers in the Country!


October Volunteer of the Month: Bret Walborn

Bret Walborn is MOSI Volunteer of the Month for October 2009.

Bret has been a volunteer in the Development Department at MOSI for 10 years and his assistance is invaluable. Bret’s responsibilities include creating new files, updating current files and keeping the filing system in order. Always available to help with a smile on his face, Bret creates organization and helps to ensure that our Development Department runs smoothly and that all of the files are kept in good order.


Bernoulli Breezeball

As you can see in the video, the orange balls are being held up only by air blown out of the tubes on the Bernoulli Breezeball exhibit. By adjusting the direction of the tubes you can pass the balls from one airstream to another and eventually into the hoops at the ends of the table.

How does it work:
Moving air has less pressure (pushing power) than still air. Objects may look as if they are sucked into a stream of moving air but are actually being pushed into the stream by the stronger pressure of the air around the stream. When a ball is placed into an airstream, the air flowing upward hits the bottom of the ball and slows down, generating a region of higher pressure. This high-pressure region of air under the ball holds it up. If you try to pull the ball slowly out of the airstream, the air arcs around the ball and its pressure is decreased. The normal pressure on the other side of the ball pushes it back into the airstream.

Daniel Bernoulli:
The Bernoulli Breezeball exhibit is named for Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782) who was a member of a Swiss family that boasted several famous mathematicians. Bernoulli applied mathematics to the fields of fluid mechanics and also pioneered mathematics work in probability and statistics. He taught at the University of St. Petersburg and later at the University of Basel where he successively chaired the departments of medicine, metaphysics and natural philosophy. Daniel Bernoulli is best known for 1738 publication Hydrodynamica and for Bernoulli's principle which describes the relationship of the speed of a fluid and its pressure.

Bernoulli's principle and aerodynamics:
Bernoulli's principle can be applied to aerodynamics. Using Bernoulli's principle you can calculate the lift force on an airfoil. Airplane wings utilize an airfoil shape that is curved on the top and flat on the bottom. In motion, air flows faster over the curved surface on the top of an airfoil than under the flat bottom. The faster moving air decreases in pressure so less pressure is being applied to the top of an airplane wing than to the bottom. This difference in pressure creates an upwards lift force. If the speed of the air over and under the wing is known, Bernoulli's equations can be used to calculate the lift force upon the airfoil.

Read more about Bernoulli's Principle applied to aerodynamics at the US Centennial of Flight Commission website.


KM0SI Amateur Radio

If you have ever wanted to learn a bit about amateur radio, I know a few MOSI volunteers who would be happy to talk to you.

Gene and Gail King can be found manning the KM0SI radio truck in the MOSI Disasterville exhibit on Wednesday mornings. Gene is a retired Tampa police officer who came to amateur radio for the services it can provide during disasters where regular forms of communication tend to break down. Gail is an avid birder who started working on her amateur radio license because it was something about which her husband was very passionate. From their backyard radio setup, the Kings have made contact with radio operators as far away as Slovenia, Australia and several location in South America. With just 60-70 watts of power and a "wire in a tree" antenna, this couple has been able to talk with people half way around the world!

In the KM0SI Truck, the Kings can show you current positions of the Hubble Telescope and the International Space Station or even show you how they contact other radio operators around the world.

What is Amateur Radio?
From Wikipedia: "Amateur radio, often called ham radio, is both a hobby and a service in which participants, called "hams," use various types of radio communications equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs for public service, recreation and self-training.

Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. An estimated six million people throughout the world are regularly involved with amateur radio.

The term "amateur" reflects the principle that Amateur Radio and its skilled operators are committed to helping communities without financial compensation; whereas Commercial Radio operates purely for profit."

The image to the right is the international symbol for amateur radio. The circuit diagram inside the diamond symbolizes components common to every radio: an antenna, inductor and ground.

Want to get involved in ham radio?
The National Association for Amateur Radio or ARRL website offers lots of great information for those who are interested in learning more about becoming a licensed radio operator. Also, the WeDoThatRadio website offers visitors the ability to search for local ham radio clubs in their area. If you are in Tampa, check out the Tampa Amateur Radio Club (TARC) website for local contacts and meeting times.

Drop by MOSI on a Wednesday morning and chat with the Kings or come by on a Thursday morning and talk to long time MOSI ham radio volunteer Fred. The volunteers of KM0SI are all friendly folks who are always happy to talk to someone interested in amateur radio. You can also email the friendly KM0SI volunteers at km0simosi@gmail.com.


Touch a tornado

What does a tornado look like up close and personal? Well, most of us really don't want to have a personal experience with such a force of nature just to satisfy our curiosity. A mist vortex is a safe way to get up close to and even touch a vortex. In this exhibit water vapor is released from a tank at the bottom and a fan at the top of the exhibit swirls the air and vapor into a vortex. The six posts on the exhibit all have tiny air vents that blow air in a single direction that helps to corral the water vapor and keep it turning in a tornado-like vortex.

Originally designed at the Exploratorium during an artist in residence program, mist vortexes have become a great way to show science center guests how a tornado looks up close. Our mist vortex is located on the second floor of MOSI's main building in the Disasterville exhibit Tornado section. MOSI's Disasterville exhibit also educates guests about floor, hurricanes, tsunami, wildfire, earthquake, lighting, volcano, hail and other forces of nature with awesome destructive power. To know how these disasters work helps people to prepare plans for what do do if a natural disaster ever touches their lives.


That Rocks: Muscovite

Known also as Common Mica or Isinglass is a common mineral found in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Muscovite occurs in a variety of brown, gray, yellow and smoky green colors but can also be found in transparent and translucent forms.

Muscovite is used for a range of commercial applications as the mineral forms in natural sheets and is an excellent insulator of electricity and heat. Cleaved into super thin sheets, muscovite has been used for lining the viewing windows of industrial furnaces and also for lining the viewing doors of old microwave ovens.

The name muscovite derives from the term Muscovy-glass as sheets of this minerals have been used as windows in Russia. The base of this names come from the Latin word "micare" which means "to shine".

Muscovite has a Mohs hardness of 2-2.25.

A sheet of muscovite is on display in the Science Alcove in the Science Library at MOSI.


September Volunteer of the Month: Deamyon “Dae” Myles

Deamyon “Dae” Myles is the volunteer of the month for September 2009.

Deamyon is a ‘high impact’ volunteer who since June has incurred 198.75 hours of volunteer service. Deamyon was the first summer volunteer to receive a volunteer flower award for excellent guest service. The volunteer flower awards are the first level of our rewards program. Upon receiving 3 flowers the volunteer is awarded a sticker for the front of their name tag and a prize pack with Pizza and movie passes or Bowling/laser tag vouchers. Deamyon was the first summer volunteer to receive the Silver Sticker!

He is an excellent example of brilliant guest service and is consistently looking, seeking and finding ways to enhance a guest’s experience at MOSI. Deamyon is always ready with a smile and helpful attitude. In addition to working as a Greeter and Volunteer InterActor, “Dae” also comes in for 3 hours on Saturday to dress as Scooby Doo and/or Dexter to entertain our guests. Congratulations Deamyon, your hours of tireless service are much appreciated and your support makes MOSI a better place staff and guests alike!


From the special collections: The MOSI Topaz

Ever wonder what 1,379 carats worth of cut and polished blue topaz would look like in your hand? Well, a lot like this. That's my hand to the left pictured with a very remarkable stone, a gigantic blue topaz.

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.


Tensile Intergrity Sphere

Hanging high above the center of the MOSI Grand Lobby is a very large and odd-looking sphere composed of yellow rods and wire. If you spend a few moments and really look at the sphere you will see that none of the yellow rods that compose the sphere are touching each other. This neat bit of science is known as a Tensile Integrity Sphere.

How does it work?:
A tensile integrity sphere or tensegrity sphere is a structure that utilizes synergy of components in balanced compression and tension for structural support.

Compression is stress or force applied to materials resulting in their compaction. In the case of this sphere the yellow rods are under compression. Tension is a force that pulls upon an object using strings or wires and is the opposite of compression. The wires in the tensegrity sphere are in tension. Synergy is a situation where different entities or forces cooperate advantageously for a final outcome, in our case keeping the sphere round without external supports. Utilizing the forces of compression and tension in synergy this 130 pound sphere is entirely self-supporting and hangs from the ceiling with just a few strong cables that support the weight of the entire sphere.

The concept of tensegrity was popularized by R. Buckminster Fuller and Kenneth Snelson at Black Mountain College in the 1940's. Building upon an early design of a self supporting sphere structure used as a planetarium in Germany, Fuller and Snelson explored concepts of tensegrity.
The term 'geodesic' was coined by Fuller and applied to structures that could be incredibly light for their size when compression and tension were used in balance to create structures that were self supporting. Within a geodesic dome, no internal supports are required. Just imagine your house without any need for walls! Geodesic structures had potential to be spacious, light weight, strong and inexpensive to produce.
"Ability to respond as a system means that local stresses are being uniformly transmitted throughout the structure, and uniformly absorbed by every part of it. The system's symmetry is not deformed: the system expands as a whole or contracts as a whole. This is not the behavior we are used to in any structures of our previous experiences. The compression members do not behave like conventional engineering beams... Ordinary beams deflect locally. The tensegrity "beam" does not act independently of "the whole building" which contracts only symmetrically when the beam is loaded. The tensegrity system is synergetic - a behavior of the whole unpredicted by the behavior of the parts" -R. Buckminster Fuller. Synergetics: explorations in the geometry of thinking. New York, Macmillan, 1975
The story of our sphere:
In November of 2000 the museum was approached by Richard 'Dick' Avery who had an interesting proposal. He wanted to build an enormous tensegrity sphere for the museum to display. Dick had found a book on R. Buckminster Fuller in the Science Store at MOSI some time before and had become enamored of the concepts of tenesgrity. At home in Sun City Center, Dick had already built a few tenesgrity spheres and offered to build one for MOSI.

Dick spent 107 hours constructing the sphere in January and February of 2001 and shortly after it was hung in our grand lobby. It was quite a sight to see a gigantic yellow sphere sitting on the floor of the lobby and several exhibit technicians carefully considering how they were going to hoist the monster shape into place. After a few hours, the great tensegrity sphere hung above our lobby and hangs there to this day. Mr. Avery passed away several years ago, but his creation still looms larger than life over hundreds of thousands of people each year.


Diplodocus in the Grand Lobby

Around 150 to 147 million years ago, at the end of the Jurassic Period, enormous sauropod dinosaurs roamed wide portions of the planet.

Around 90 feet in length from head to tip of the tail, the Diplodocus would have needed massive amounts of food to sustain its huge size. Diplodocus likely grazed its way through the western North American conifer forests using its peg like teeth to strip foliage from trees and low growing cycads and club mosses. Their long necks may have allowed them to reach into thick-treed forests where their bodies were too big to enter, reach foliage higher up in trees or even be able to graze on soft water plants while still standing on dry land that would support their 10-16 tons of weight. The heads of these massive dinosaurs measure less than two feet in length, leaving only a tiny amount of space for a brain.

First discovered in 1877 by Earl Douglass and Samuel W. Williston, diplodocus fossils have been found throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Montana. Diplodocus, meaning "Double-beamed", was named by paleontologist Othniel C. Marsh in 1878 for the chevron shaped bones on the underside of its tail.

The MOSI Grand Lobby houses two full sized Diplodocus skeletons which are actually casts of the same fossilized Diplodocus. One is shown in a standing position and the other placed in a rearing position with its head reaching high up toward the ceiling. During the Assemble a Sauropod project over 500 donors came together and along with two grants MOSI was able to purchase two Diplodocus casts!
Because the are so fantastically large, there are literally dozens of angles from which to view the Diplodocus. Great spots to see these skeletons are the Grand Lobby, 2nd floor balcony near Weather Quest, Grand Staircase, 2nd floor Lobby overlook and the 3rd floor balcony by Science Works Theater.

The Diplodocus have been known to wear the occasional Santa hat around the winter holidays. On their tiny heads an average person-sized Santa hat works quite nicely!


Getting Ready to go Back to School can be a whole bunch of fun!

Ready for School? Come to the Back to School Expo at MOSI and have the chance to win tickets to see the Jonas Brothers Concert

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


Are you a Toon Idol?

Dress up as your favorite cartoon character and perform their theme song in MOSI’s Toon Idol Competition. Performers must submit your video through August 15, 2009. Once submitted, people will have a chance to vote for their favorite video on MOSI’s YouTube™ channel.

Visit the MOSI website to download contestant application and rules. Characters of all ages welcome.

Funky Science: Lava lamps

The Science Store at MOSI has a really huge lava lamp on display and lots of smaller lava lamps for sale right now. The large lava lamp is really awesome to watch so I thought perhaps we should talk about the science of lava lamps!

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!


Volunteering at MOSI

Smiling volunteer faces on a Monday morning!

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!


This Rocks! Herkimer Diamonds

Tucked away in a lesser known gallery of MOSI you can find these gems glittering away.

Crystal Diamonds:
Known as Herkimer diamonds, these beauties are double terminated quartz crystals that each have 18 facets. The crystals are known for their clarity and became referred to as "diamonds". The most perfect crystals are usually less that 1/2 inch in length and the crystals are often found in clusters sometimes attached to each other. A Herkimer diamond scores a 7 on the hardness scale whereas a true diamond is a perfect 10. Large pockets of these crystals were discovered in the exposed outcroppings of dolostone in the late 1700's in several areas of up-state New York particularly Little Falls in Herkimer County and also along the Mohawk River Valley.

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.
Unusual Crystals:
Although many Herkimer diamonds are perfectly clear and glitter just like their namesake, some of the crystals form with impurities inside. Some contain anthraxolite which is decayed plant matter that appears black and coal-like in color. Some crystals contains tiny pockets of water inside and are known as enhydro crystals.

Other crystals may contain various impurities that give them a smoky color. Some, known as phantom crystals, have one crystal that has grown around another so that both crystals can be seen, one inside the other. Other usual crystals have grown together so that two or more crystals are fused together.

Several of our crystals on display contain anthraxolite and one has a distinctly smoky color.
See them at MOSI:

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!


Now Blooming: Passionvine

These gorgeous purple flowers are hard to miss in the Richard T. Bowers Historic Tree Grove at MOSI. Passionvine is growing all over the place including on a large upright trellis near the center of the gardens.

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.


Something Awesome: Bike on a Wire

What a brave young lady! MOSI volunteer Sarah is riding a bicycle over 30 feet above the ground with only a one inch thick steel cable beneath her and she is smiling while she pedals!

So why does Sarah feel so comfortable on this bicycle so far above the ground? Well the net and the five point harness really help but there is no way for the bike to tip over or fall off that wire! Hanging beneath the bicycle is a 350 pound counter weight which keeps the bike right side up.

Even with the weight of Sarah combined with the bicycle, the counterweight weighs much more and will always be pulling the bike back into the upright position even if Sarah were to get very brave and rock the bike back and forth!

So why is the net there? Two reasons: It makes people feel better and shoes can still fall off or get dropped and those don't feel great when they land on someone standing on the main floor!

MOSI's High Wire Bike is the longest High Wire Bike ride in a US museum with a 98 foot long cable and is truly science in motion!


August Volunteer of the Month

The BioWorks Butterfly Garden's very own Naomi May is the MOSI Volunteer of the Month for August 2009!

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!



Disability Awareness Expo
Saturday, July 25 – 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Tampa, FL (July 21, 2009) – Lora Duguay, a polio survivor whose oil paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States, will showcase her talent at ANIMATION featuring Cartoon Network—MOSI’s newest exhibition that explores how art and technology come together to create cartoon animation—during the Disability Awareness Expo.

On Saturday, July 25, MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry) and the Hillsborough County Alliance for Citizens with Disabilities will host the annual community-wide Disability Awareness Expo in commemoration of the 19th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, historic civil rights legislation for persons with disabilities. The Expo, “Building Minds, Building Bodies, Building Communities,” honors disability advocates and features exhibits on technology, employment, sports, housing, and the arts as well as new ideas and ways to make life more inclusive and enjoyable for those who may have a disability.

Lora Duguay will paint one of her acclaimed artworks, which focus on the cultural beauty of Native Americans, Rom Gypsies, fantasy art and nature, at the ANIMATION exhibition. She began oil painting as a hobby which then emerged into a full-time career when she suffered from postpolio syndrome. Lora is currently a Board Member and Artist in Residency with VSA Arts of Florida, encouraging creativity and sharing artistic knowledge with students who have disabilities. For more information on Lora Duguay, visit http://loraduguay.snappages.com/.

Now through August 2, 2009, MOSI is offering one FREE child admission with the purchase a full-priced Adult or Senior MOSI General Admission ticket (must mention offer at box office). In ANIMATION’s stimulating and fun environment, visitors will explore the process of animation from concept to finished product — from storyboarding, character design, and drawing techniques to movement, timing, filming, and sound. Larger-than-life graphics of popular Cartoon Network characters provide a colorful backdrop to the exhibit, which also explores careers in animation with digital slide shows of real artists working in the Cartoon Network studio so visitors can learn about the skills and training needed for a career in animation.



Now through August 2, 2009, MOSI is offering one FREE child admission with the purchase a full-priced Adult or Senior MOSI General Admission ticket! Explore how art, math, science, and technology come together in the exciting world of animation. In Animation’s stimulating and fun environment, visitors will explore the process of animation from concept to finished product.

Offer valid only with the purchase of a full priced adult or senior general admission ticket. MOSI general admission includes ANIMATION featuring Cartoon Network, MOSI’s entire exhibit galleries and one standard IMAX® Dome Theatre film. Discounts may not be combined. Offer ends August 2, 2009.



Tampa, FL (June 30, 2009) – Sheila Raye Charles, the seventh child of legendary musician Ray Charles, left a special message on a Blog by Tampa’s Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) in response to a new sensory garden planted at the Ray Charles Live Oak in MOSI’s Richard T. Bowers Historic Tree Grove.

“Our father would be so pleased with your consideration and efforts. Thank you for all the good work. Ray Charles’ Children”
Sheila Raye Charles, posted June 30, 2009, 10:51 a.m.

Thanks to a grant from Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb, a sensory garden was planted near the Ray Charles Live Oak in honor of Charles’ legacy and to appeal to the use of non-sight senses in someone who is visually impaired. The garden is a collection of fragrant plants including flowers that are unique to touch.

White Fountain Grass (Pennisetum villosum) planted for its soft, feathery tops.
Fragrant Olive (Osmanthus fragrans) picked for the gorgeous sweet aroma of its blooms.
Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata) chosen for the sweet almond-like scent of its white flowers.
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) selected for the licorice scent when touched.
Chocolate Mint (Mentha piperita) planted for the minty chocolate smell when handled.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) chosen for its minty aroma.
Lambs Tails (Ptilotus exaltatus) selected for its feathered purple flower tops with a dried flower stiffness.
Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria) planted for its powdery foliage.
Chenille Plant (Acalypha hispida) picked for its mounding foliage covered in interesting, soft red blooms tha feel like an odd yarn than a plant.
Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) chosen for the honey sweet scent of its white blossoms.

The Richard T. Bowers Historic Tree Grove provides museum guests with a stroll through history by focusing on the stories of 17 culturally significant trees that are associated with notable people and places across America . The Historic Tree Grove is FREE and open to the public during MOSI operating hours (admission required for entry into MOSI exhibits).

MOSI today is the result of 52 years of growth and maturity reflecting both on the institution and the surrounding community. With a total size of over 400,000 square feet, MOSI is the largest science center in the southeastern United States , and home to the only IMAX® Dome Theatre in the state of Florida . MOSI is a not-for-profit, community-based institution and educational resource that is dedicated to advancing public interest, knowledge, and understanding of science, industry, and technology.

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About MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry)
MOSI is a not-for-profit, community-based institution and educational resource dedicated to advancing public interest, knowledge, and understanding of science, industry, and technology. With a total size of over 400,000 square feet, MOSI is the largest science center in the southeastern United States , and home to the only IMAX® Dome Theatre in the state of Florida . Kids In Charge! The Children’s Science Center at MOSI is the largest children’s science center in the nation. Disasterville, featuring WeatherQuest, combines education and 10,000 square feet of interactive exhibits on the science behind natural disasters. MOSI’s newest permanent exhibition, The Amazing You, explores the intricate world of the beginning of life, childhood, and adolescent developmental life stages.


ANIMATION featuring Cartoon Network opens July 10th

ANIMATION featuring Cartoon Network, a new exhibit exploring the science behind the art of animation, will open July 10, 2009. Characters from Dexter’s Laboratory, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Codename: Kids Next Door, and The Powerpuff Girls will provide a colorful backdrop to the exhibit, in addition to popular Hanna-Barbera characters such as Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones.

ANIMATION features six areas, including Animation Studio, where visitors can develop a storyboard, and create scenes using layered cels and moving backgrounds, and Science Laboratory, where visitors can use Dexter’s Laboratory to delve into the science and technology that make animation possible.

Fun Animation Facts:

Snow White, which premiered in 1937 was the first American animated feature film ever. It cost $1.4 million to produce.

Disney had only two animators working for him when he created Steamboat Willie in 1928

Production of Beauty and the Beast took three and a half years and required the talents of nearly 600 animators, artists, and technicians.


“Daddy, please quit smoking.” A plea to smoking fathers

BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart exhibition at MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry) invites all families to join together in an effort to encourage dads who smoke to quit for Father’s Day, June 21.

The dramatic display at BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart exhibit can guarantee that fathers will want to make a lifestyle change for their children and family. An exhibit specimen containing a tar-filled, blackened smoker’s lung in a side-by-side comparison with a healthy lung has moved thousands of people to pledge to quit on the spot.

BODY WORLDS is calling all children and families with a father who smokes to bring dad to this groundbreaking exhibition on Father’s Day. Fathers will be admitted for FREE on June 21 with the purchase of a child or family member ticket. Fathers who smoke are encouraged to kick the habit and of course pledge to quit once confronted with the compelling imagery inside the lung gallery of BODY WORLDS.

In 2006, exhibition cleaning crews discovered masses of unfinished cigarette packs discarded on the glass displays of the smoker’s lung. In early March, BODY WORLDS partnered with the American Cancer Society (ACS) in the “I Quit!” campaign. Pledge cards for visitors intending to give-up smoking, along with their last packs of cigarettes, were displayed inside the exhibit. Information from ACS is available, as well as a multimedia PSA message from the late Yul Brynner, who died from lung cancer in 1985. BODY WORLDS, in partnership with the Moffitt Cancer Center, have also offered lectures on smoking cessation and lung cancer. The lectures are free of charge with the purchase of admission and held inside the exhibition.

“Lung cancer is the most preventable form of cancer death in our society, but about 23 percent of Americans continue to use tobacco,” said Mel Tockman, M.D., Ph.D, chairman of the American Cancer Society’s Greater Tampa Unit. ACS provided BODY WORLDS visitors smoking cessation materials including a phone number to free phone-based counseling though the Florida Quitline: 1-877-U-Can-Now.

BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart MUST CLOSE JUNE 28th

Let the mad rush begin as the Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart, the world’s most successful traveling exhibit, is entering it’s final weeks at Tampa’s Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI).

The last chance for Floridians to visit one of the most talked about exhibitions in the world is only four weeks away. Attracting more than 27 million visitors and traveling in 47 different cities throughout the world, BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart, which has been on display at MOSI since January 22, features more than 200 authentic human specimens offering insights into the human body, health and disease.

Mark your calendars
There is something for everyone in the final days of BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart:

Ending Events at Exhibit:
June 17: Flashlight Twilight Tours – Tour the exhibit in total darkness with nothing but flashlight in tow!
June 17: Moffitt Breast Cancer Lecture 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
June 21: Father’s Day – Bring Dad to BODY WORLDS!
June 23: Moffitt Skin Cancer Lecture 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. – Tickets to exhibit include lecture

To ensure visitors have the best possible experience at BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart, MOSI offers the following helpful information and tips:
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Hours: Tickets to BODY WORLDS are available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. or can be purchased online at http://mosi.org/bodyworlds3.html. Advance online ticket purchases are strongly encouraged (service charges may apply). After Dark hours at a discounted rate are from 5 – 9 p.m. (with the last entrance at 8 p.m.). Tickets can also be purchased by calling (813) 987-6000, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Exhibition hours may change due to demand in final weeks, for updates on operating hours and special discounts, visit mosi.org.

Timed Tickets: Entry to BODY WORLDS is also available through a timed ticket system. Tickets are sold in 30-minute blocks for a specific date and time. Once purchased, visitors can exchange tickets for a different time and date, but only if they make the exchange prior to the date and time listed on the ticket. Visitors may enter the exhibition during the 30-minute window beginning at the time printed on their ticket. For example, if a visitor has a ticket date for June 16 at 3:30 p.m., they may enter the exhibit between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on June 16.

Plan Ahead: BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart at MOSI sells out often on the weekends, and it is common for the exhibition to get busier as the end of the run approaches. With this in mind, MOSI recommends pre-purchasing tickets. The exhibition MUST CLOSE on JUNE 28.

Plenty of Time: The average visitor dwell time is 90 minutes. However, visitors often take much longer to experience the entire exhibition. Audio guides tend to significantly increase he amount of time visitors spend in the exhibit. Please allow yourself ample tome to view BODY WORLDS. Audio guides are available at the exhibit entrance for $5 per adult and $3 per child (2-12).

Other Questions: The MOSI website, www.mosi.org, features information about tickets, opening hours, parking and special programs and events, group sales, and more. Please visit the website often, or call (813) 987-6000 prior to coming to BODY WORLDS to ensure the best experience possible.

Flashlight Twilight Tour - June 17, 2009

Join MOSI on Wednesday, June 17 at 6 p.m. at MOSI / BODY WORLDS exhibition for Flashlight Twilight Tour. The exhibit is closing and leaving on June 28, and this is the last opportunity locals have the chance to explore this fascinating exhibition.

Imagine this...

An exhibition hall, darkened ebony with no lighting other than the deep shades of crimson slightly illuminating each exposed specimen. Visitors will enter the compelling display of BODY WORLDS with only a flashlight in tow. Adventurous explorers, will experience the fascinating BODY WORLDS exhibit like no other – in complete darkness. Flashlights provided... courage not...

Flashlight tours are a unique, fun and exciting way to experience the exhibit. Gallery lights are turned off and flashlights are turned on, as visitors carefully explore the gallery.

*Flashlights will be provided, although you are welcome to bring your own. Tours are self-led. No-reservations are required but are strongly recommended.

Tours begin at 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
$18.95 general admission; $14.95 children 12 and under, $16.45 seniors 60+


MOSI Employee Spotlight: Mary Martin

In November 2006, a year after recovering from a stroke, my doctor suggested I should go back to work or find somewhere to volunteer because it would be good for me to get back into a routine. Around this time, my granddaughter saw an ad in the paper for a senior program that she thought would be good for me to check out. I went to the address on the ad and met with a woman named Sylvia who helps place seniors in a volunteer-to-work program through the AARP Senior Employment program. Under this program seniors get to volunteer at a work site for three to six months to learn a job and, hopefully, get hired when the volunteer period ends. Sylvia asked me if I would like to go to MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry), and I said, “yes.”

When I got to MOSI, I met the volunteer coordinator and we talked about where I would be volunteering my time. I wanted to work in the museum’s café because I had worked in restaurants before and liked it, so that is where I was able to start volunteering. When my time was up, the manager asked me if I would like to stay at MOSI and work in the café as a museum staff member (and she even offered me a raise!), and naturally, I answered, “yes!”

My favorite thing about working in the café is meeting people and preparing food for others to enjoy. It makes me feel good when people say the food looks and tastes good because I take pride in what I do. Being the oldest of 15 children I am used to always having family and children around, which is probably why I like working at the museum with all the families and kids running around having fun. I also get to work alongside younger staff members (some in high school), and I like that – working with young people keeps me young!

My schedule is perfect, and I really like my boss. I like being able to visit a new exhibit after my shift ends, or going to the Science Library, and sometimes I have my grandchildren meet me at the museum after my shift. I work Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., which is great because I wake up in the morning and watch the news at 6 a.m. and then catch the bus to get to work by 8 a.m.; I have a routine again!

Mary Martin


BODY WORLDS offers free screenings for Stroke Awareness Month

May is Stroke Awareness Month and BODY WORLDS is partnering with MOSI and University Community Hospital to offer free screenings — body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure — to help manage the risk factors for stroke on Thursday, May 7, 2009 & Tuesday May 19 – 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in MOSI's Grand Lobby.

Stroke is a medical emergency. Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke. If a stroke doesn't kill you, it may leave you physically or mentally disabled. Anyone, at any time, can have a stroke. For every minute you don't get help, more brain cells die.

People who survive a stroke have a higher risk for another one. It is vital that people with stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, manage their risk factors to prevent further strokes.

BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart at the Museum of Science & Industry is open from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily. BODY WORLDS After Hours from 5 - 9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 6 - 9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday is a separate fee.


BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart announce College Week – April 20 - 26

Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart invites Florida college students to participate in College Week at BODY WORLDS. From April 20 – 26, all college students in Florida will have the opportunity to experience this once in a lifetime exhibit for only $14 — a savings of nearly $12. Students must present their school ID at the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) box office to receive the College Week price. BODY WORLDS at MOSI is open from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily.

By offering a special price to college students, BODY WORLDS hopes to engage them to pursue careers in the medical field. For Dr. von Hagens, who invented Plastination -- the groundbreaking method of preserving anatomical specimens for study -- the primary goal of the exhibition is health education.

“The purpose of Plastination from its very inception was a scientific one, to educate medical students,” said Dr. von Hagens.” But the interest that laypeople had in the plastinated specimens inspired me to think of creating public exhibitions, which was followed by the realization that I had to offer a heightened sense of aesthetics, to avoid shocking the public and to capture their imagination. BODY WORLDS is a collaboration, a joint quest towards enlightenment between donor, anatomist, and visitor.”

The Florida premiere of BODY WORLDS features a unique collection of over 200 authentic human specimens, including whole-body plastinates, organs and translucent body slices. BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart offers visitors profound insights into the human body, health and disease, and the intricate world of the cardiovascular system.

BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart, the world’s most successful traveling exhibit, is now open for a limited engagement at the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI). The exhibition
spans some 17,000 square feet at MOSI. Over 27 million visitors in 47 cities across Asia, Europe, and North America have seen BODY WORLDS since its debut in Japan in 1995.

Dr Gunther von Hagens, invented Plastination in 1977, in an effort to improve the education of medical students. He created the BODY WORLDS exhibitions to bring anatomy to the public. More than 25 million people have seen the exhibitions worldwide. The organs and whole-body plastinates in the exhibition derive from people who have, in their lifetime, generously donated their bodies for Plastination, to specifically educate future generations about health. More than 9,000 donors including more than 900 Americans have bequeathed their bodies to von Hagens’ Institute for Plastination in Heidelberg, Germany. For more information on BODY WORLDS, please visit, http://www.bodyworlds.com/.


Endocarditis: A Preventable Part in "The Story of the Heart"

About 29,000 cases of endocarditis are diagnosed each year.1 Researchers have said maintenance of optimal oral health and hygiene may reduce the incidence of infective endocarditis and is more important than oral antibiotics for a dental procedure to reduce the risk of the infection.2

Now on display at the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) ­— BODY WORLDS features a comprehensive exhibit gallery of plastinated human heart specimens including a heart specimen with an artificial valve. Endocarditis can deform the heart valves so much that they no longer open sufficiently or close properly. In severe cases, the affected valves have to be replaced with artificial ones.

Endocarditis is one of many ailments that can cause disease and distress to the human heart. This is why BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart is so great in that it allows guests an unprecedented look into this fascinating muscle and serves as a call-to-action for people to pay attention to their heart health, make regular doctor's visits, stay active, and most importantly, see this groundbreaking exhibition.

BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart and Pepin Heart Hospital are teaming up with students from Hillsborough Community College’s (HCC) Dental Program for “Heart Your Smile” Day on Friday, April 3, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. to raise awareness of oral health and maintaining a heart free from endocarditis (presently known as infective endocarditis).

Dr. Charles Lambert, medical director, of Pepin Heart Hospital will be present to answer questions on infective endocarditis. In addition, students from the HCC Dental Program will be on-site at MOSI to demonstrate and provide information on the proper way to brush and floss daily.

MOSI is offering the most value-added ticket in town! Museum admission now includes BODY WORLDS & The Story of the Heart, MOSI’s entire exhibit galleries, a Saunders Planetarium show, a 3D show in the Science Works Theater, a ride on MOSI’s High-Wire Bicycle, Kids In Charge! The Children’s Science Center, the BioWorks Butterfly Garden, plus—for a limited-time—an IMAX® Dome Theatre film*—all of this for $25.95 for adults, $19.95 for children (ages 2-12) and $22.45 for seniors (60+).

*Special engagement IMAX films not included. For student field trips or group reservations, please call (813) 987-6000.

1 Source: American Heart Association, Inc. ©2009 Infective Endocarditis: Who is at risk? http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4436
2 Source: American Heart Association, Inc. ©2009 Infective Endocarditis: Can endocarditis be prevented?


The Idea Behind Plastination

“I developed the Plastination technique at the University of Heidelberg’s Institute of Anatomy in 1977, patented it between 1977 and 1982, and have been continually improving the process ever since.

When, as an anatomy assistant, I saw my first specimen embedded in a polymer block, I wondered why the polymer had been poured around the outside of the specimen as having the polymer within the specimen would stabilize it from the inside out. I could not get this question out of my mind. A few weeks later, I was to prepare a series of slices of human kidneys for a research project. The usual process of embedding the kidneys in paraffin and then cutting them into thin slices seemed like too much wasted effort to me, as I only needed every fiftieth slice. Then one day, I was in the butcher shop in the university town where I was studying, and as I watched the sales woman slice ham, it dawned on me that I ought to be using a meat slicer for cutting kidneys. And so a "rotary blade cutter," as I called it in the project-appropriation request, became my first Plastination investment. I embedded the kidney slices in liquid Plexiglas and used a vacuum to extract the air bubbles that had formed when stirring in the curing agent. As I watched these bubbles, it hit me: It should be possible to infuse a kidney slice with plastic by saturating it with acetone and placing it under a vacuum; the vacuum would then extract the acetone in the form of bubbles, just as it had extracted air before. When I actually tried this, plenty of acetone bubbles emerged, but after an hour the kidney was pitch black and had shrunk. At this point most people would have dismissed the experiment as a failure, and the only reason I went ahead and repeated it a week later using silicone rubber was because my basic knowledge of physical chemistry told me that the blackening effect was due to the index of refraction of the Plexiglas, and that the shrinkage could be attributed to having permeated the specimen too quickly. The next time, I carried out this process more slowly, using three successive silicone baths as a means of preventing a single bath (along with its contents) from curing too quickly. After curing the specimen in a laboratory kiln, I had the first presentable sample of Plastination.

That was on January 10, 1977, the day that I decided to make Plastination the focus of my life."

Gunther von Hagens
Inventor of Plastination


How Plastination Works

Decay is a big obstacle to the study of anatomy, so scientists have been searching for centuries for suitable preservation techniques. With the invention of plastination, it has become possible to preserve decomposable specimens in a durable and lifelike manner for instructional, research and demonstration purposes. During a vacuum process, biological specimens are penetrated with a reactive polymer developed specifically for this technique. The class of polymer used determines the mechanical (flexible or hard) and optical (transparent or opaque) properties of the preserved specimen. Plastinated specimens are dry and odorless; they retain their natural surface relief and are identical with their state prior to preservation down to the microscopic level. Even microscopic examinations are still possible. The plastination technique replaces bodily fluids and fat with reactive polymers, such as silicone rubber, epoxy resins, or polyester. In a first phase, solvent gradually replaces bodily fluids in a cold solvent bath (freeze substitution). After dehydration, the specimen is put in a solvent bath at room temperature to dissolve and remove the fat. The dehydrated and defatted specimen is then placed into a polymer solution. The solvent is then brought to a boil in a vacuum and continuously extracted from the specimen. The evaporating solvent creates a volume deficit within the specimen, drawing the polymer gradually into the tissue. After the process of forced impregnation, the specimen is cured with gas, light, or heat, depending on the type of polymer used.

“Slice plastination” is a special variation of this preservation technique. When applying this method, whole bodies or body parts (mostly deep-frozen) are first cut or sawed into 2-8 mm thick slices. These slices are then placed between wire nettings, where they are dehydrated, defatted and finally saturated with polymers in a vacuum. The impregnated slices are cured between sheets of film or cast with additional polymers in a flat chamber composed of glass plates to give them a smooth surface. The refraction index of the applied resins determines the optical properties of plastinated body slices. Body and organ slices produced with epoxy resins result in transparent specimens with good coloration of individual tissues. Polyester resins permit an excellent distinction between white and grey brain matter and are thus used for the plastination of brain slices. Plastinated organs and body slices are a novel teaching aid for cross-sectional anatomy, which is gradually gaining importance and can be easily correlated with radiological imaging. Series of transparent body slices are helpful for a large variety of scientific research activities. In addition, they are a suitable diagnostic means in pathology, as they allow rapid macroscopic and diagnostic screening of entire organs or operation preparations. Additionally, they still allow for selective analyses of pathological tissue regions with conventional microscopic methods.

Gunther von Hagens invented plastination at the Institute for Anatomy at Heidelberg University in 1977, and has developed it further ever since. Plastination has gained general acceptance and is carried out in many institutions throughout the world. The durability and lifelike state of plastinated specimens as well as their high instructional value have contributed to this acceptance. For more information about plastination, visit the BODY WORLDS website


Plastination - Discover the Mysteries Under your Skin

It takes an average of 1,500 hours to transform a cadaver into a full-body plastinate. But the resulting specimen is everything that a conventional model is not — an intricate and authentic representation of the once living human body. Plastination is a vacuum process in which a body’s water and fat content are replaced by fluid plastic, which later hardens to retain all tissue structures. The German anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens invented plastination in 1977. The technique allows the general public to enjoy fascinating insights previously available only to medical students in dissection rooms.


The development of plastination marks the beginning of a new era in anatomy, a field of study that can be traced to the times of the pharaohs. In the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci produced realistic sketches of the dissected human body, and in 1543 Andreas Vesalius pioneered modern anatomy with his precise drawings. These masters explored the mysteries of bodily interiors when external beauty was most revered. BODY WORLDS at MOSI connects with this spirit of enlightenment by presenting a new look at the human body that is both tangible and accessible.



Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS exhibits are the first public anatomical exhibitions of real human plastinates. Since 1995, more than 26 million visitors have viewed the exhibits at venues in cities across Asia, Europe, the United States and Canada. The primary goal of BODY WORLDS is health education. On the one hand, individual specimens are used to compare healthy and diseased organs, i.e., a healthy lung with that of a smoker, to emphasize the importance of a healthy life-style. On the other hand, life-like posed whole-body plastinates illustrate where in our bodies these organs are positioned and what we are: naturally fragile in a mechanized world.

The exhibits help visitors to become aware of the naturalness of their bodies and to recognize the individuality and anatomical beauty inside of them.

The authenticity of the specimens on display is essential for such insight. Every human being is unique. Humans reveal their individuality not only through the visible exterior, but also through the interior of their bodies, as each body is distinctly different from any other. Position, size, shape, and structure of skeleton, muscles, nerves, and organs determine our "interior face." It would be impossible to convey this anatomical individuality with models, for a model is nothing more than an interpretation. All models look alike and are, essentially, simplified versions of the real thing. The authenticity of the specimens, however, is fascinating and enables the observer to experience the marvel of the real human body. 

It is also important to note that the plastinated specimens on display in Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS exhibitions—excluding a small number of specimens acquired from anatomical collections and anatomy programs—stem from a unique Body Donation Program established in Heidelberg, Germany in 1983, later managed by the Institute for Plastination established in 1993.

Currently, the Institute for Plastination has a donor roster of 9,200 individuals which includes nearly 9000 Europeans and 800 North Americans. All IfP documents relating to donated bodies have been scrutinized and approved by two ethics committees formed by the California Science Center in Los Angeles and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, where BODY WORLDS exhibitions took place in between 2004 and 2008.  

For more information visit www.bodyworlds.com


On this Day in Astronomy in 1610

Hello again fellow SkyWatchers.

Just an interesting astronomy history tidbit this time – On this day 399 years ago, January 13, 1610, Galileo Galilei discovered Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon and the largest moon in our solar system. 

Ganymede is 5268 kilometers (3273 miles ) in diameter, which makes it much larger than both Mercury (4880 km) or Pluto (2300 km), and huge compared to our Moon (3476 km). 


Steve Nipper

Manager of Planetarium & Senior Programs


January SkyWatch

Earth was at its closest point to the Sun (91,400,939 miles), which is called perihelion, in its orbit on Sunday, January 4th. We are actually closest to the Sun in the winter (for the northern hemisphere) and farthest from the Sun during the summer in July, called aphelion, on July 3rd this year, when Earth will be 94,505,048 miles from the Sun.

If you noticed the full Moon last Saturday night, January 10th looked as impressive as the one in December, you were correct.  Just as the December full Moon was the largest and brightest of 2008, the January full Moon was the largest and brightest of 2009, and for the same reason – the Moon was full while it was at perigee, the closest point in its orbit to the Earth.


The bright standout in the evening sky right now after sunset is Venus.  This Thursday, January 14th, Venus reaches is greatest angular distance East of the Sun, 47 degrees.  This means that it will be as high in the sky after sunset as it can get, so the next week or so will be a great time to admire the brilliant “evening star” (weather permitting, of course.) 



Steve Nipper

Manager of Planetarium & Senior Programs


Discover the Mysteries Under your Skin

When you look inside, you'll see the brain looks like a giant, wrinkled walnut.

This brain has been preserved through plastination, which is a groundbreaking method for specimen preservation invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens.  An anatomist and lecturer at University of Heidelberg, Dr. von Hagens invented the palstination technique in 1977 as an alternative to the usual method of preserving specimens by imbedding them in solid blocks of plastic.  He wanted to be able to touch the specimens and examine them more closely.  The value of plastination to anatomy studies was immediately obvious.  Dr. von Hagens spent the next 20 years refining the process, making improvements and modifications as he worked.  


Heart Beat Facts

The heart beats around 3 billion times in the average person's life.  

A "heart beat" is really the sound of the valves in the heart closing as they push blood through its chambers.

Your heart beats some 30 million times a year.