Explore space and time at OMSI’s “Einstein”

Take a look at a mind-expanding exhibit that will keep kids thinking, at this new exhibit at Portland’s world-class science museum …

The bust of Albert Einstein looks bemused as museum spokesman Lee Dawson – almost himself warping space and time – to set up the exhibit that showcases his life and work, at OMSI.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Just in time for summer vacation, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) opens its latest exhibition – called “Einstein”.

“We’re proud to present the most comprehensive exhibit ever, on Albert Einstein,” smiled OMSI spokesman Lee Dawson. “It brings to life his most revolutionary theories. But instead of just watching a movie or reading a book, visitors will learn about Einstein’s life, science and legacy through hands-on, interactive displays.”

The exhibit, which opened on June 26, explores many of Einstein’s most astonishing visions of the Universe – including light’s constant speed, time as the fourth dimension, and space-time as curved geometry. “And, through reproductions of Einstein’s papers, it reveals his passion for social justice and his speaking out against segregation, anti-Semitism, McCarthyism, and nuclear armament,” Dawson said.

In this interactive display, guest Jaden Berger warps space and time – figuratively.

Ashley Wilhelm, OMSI Featured Exhibits Volunteer shows the Gravity Table, demonstrating the difference between Einstein theory of gravity, and Newton’s.

The Einstein exhibit’s highlights include:

Einstein’s Revolution – How the classic Newtonian view of gravity as a simple force between objects was overthrown by Einstein’s vision of gravity as the result of objects warping space-time. Included as an example is a simulated black hole.

Light – A kinetic light sculpture help visitor visualize Einstein’s most revolutionary theories on the nature of light.

Time – See a tremendous wall display of digital clocks, each ticking off seconds, hours, and days at a different rate – which graphically illustrates Einstein’s radical understanding that the length of any interval of time varies according to how fast the “clock” and the observer are moving.

Energy – What does E=mc² really mean? Delve deeper into the reasoning behind the formula ,using an interactive “blackboard”.

Gravity – Follow Einstein’s steps, as he reconsiders the properties of gravity – with an interactive wall that warps images.

“We’re sure people will enjoy Einstein as we have,” Dawson said. “It will be on display for OMSI visitors through September 26.”

This guest studies Einstein’s “A-B-C’s” of E=mc2.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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