NUMBERS IN NATURE: A MIRROR MAZE TO OPEN AT MSI OCTOBER 2014
New permanent exhibit explores patterns and mathematics in our world with a mirror maze experience
CHICAGO, Ill. (May 16, 2014)—Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze is an interactive and immersive new permanent exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago that will expose and explain the mathematical patterns that abound in the natural world—from the delicate nested spirals of a sunflower’s seeds, to the ridges of a majestic mountain range, to the layout of the Universe.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is a 1,800-square-foot elaborate mirror maze in which guests can lose themselves in a seemingly infinite repeating pattern of mirrors. The exhibit will open October 8, 2014 on the Museum’s Main Level and is included in Museum Entry.
“The Museum is thrilled to open an exhibit that illuminates mathematics and numbers in fun, interactive way,” said Kurt Haunfelner, MSI’s vice president of exhibits and collections. “By showcasing that fascinating numerical patterns are all around us, we hope that both kids and adults alike will become inspired to discover more about how math is a strong and important presence in our daily lives. It’s a vital part of supporting STEM education for our youth.”
Introduction to Patterns in Our World
As you enter the exhibit, you will be greeted by lenticular images that animate imagery from nature—showing the many repeating patterns that are easily identifiable—if you know where to look!
From there, an immersive theater will present a large-format media piece with stunning footage of nature, the human body and even art and architecture. Animated computer graphics will be superimposed over the images to uncover the mathematical patterns—spirals, the golden ratio (PHI/Φ), Voronoi patterns and fractal branching—beneath these familiar objects. The film will help explain why these patterns exist and how they show themselves in various facets of the natural and designed world.
Building from the examples in the theater, an interactive area will allow you to identify patterns that surround you every day and to create numerical patterns of your own. Manipulate images of snowflakes, honeycombs, flowers and more—triggering the geometry that underlies those things to appear.
The Mirror Maze
To introduce you to the centerpiece of the exhibit—the mirror maze—a hidden pocket door will open that exposes a sea of equilateral triangle chambers that repeat in a dizzying array of mirrors. This fascinating, yet challenging, space will envelop you within what appears to be an endless pattern—1,800 square feet of it! Dead ends are scattered throughout, and hidden within this approximately 10-minute experience is a small secret room. Finding it will reward you with bonus puzzles and imagery to further expand the connection to mathematics.
Upon leaving the maze, you will have more opportunities for hands-on activities in a final gallery.
Patterns in Nature
- Draw your own patterns on a digital screen and see real-world objects revealed that show that same pattern.
- Use templates to try to align a spiral pattern to a series of objects from nature and the man-made world. Which objects come close to the spiral and which don’t?
- Learn how patterns are used to make computer-generated landscapes in movies.
Patterns in Yourself
- Look through an eyepiece to directly observe how blood vessels branch within your own eye.
- Compare similar patterns that appear in the human body and in nature.
- Step in front of a large mirror and strike various poses while a projection reveals the patterns and proportions in your body.
Patterns in Music, Art and Architecture
- Compose a piece of music using symmetry: vary a single musical motive and hear your creation played backed to you.
- Create a musical scale with mathematical proportions using a playable harp.
- Discover and compare similar patterns in architecture from varying parts of the world—built millennia apart.
Numbers in Nature is included in Museum Entry, but it will require a timed-entry ticket, available onsite.
About the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI)
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), one of the largest science museums in the world, offers world-class and uniquely interactive science experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity. Through groundbreaking and award-winning exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else, to Live Science Experiences that make you the scientist—a visit to MSI is where fun and learning mix. Through its Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE), MSI offers a variety of student, teacher and family programs that make a difference in communities and contribute to the Museum’s larger vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. Come visit and find your inspiration! MSI is open 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Extended hours, until 5:30 p.m., are offered during peak periods. The Museum is supported in part through the generosity of the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, find MSI online at msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.
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- A rendering of Numbers In Nature: A Mirror Maze, a new 1,800-square-foot permanent exhibit to open at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago in October 2014. [Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago]
- Numbers In Nature will reveal mathematical patterns that exists all around us in nature, art and the human body. [Derivative of “Sunflower in Saigon” by Christian Haugen, used under CC BY 2.0.]
- The centerpiece of the exhibit is a 1,800-square-foot elaborate mirror maze in which guests can lose themselves in a seemingly infinite repeating pattern of mirrors. [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry]
Images presented here are for the express use for promoting the Museum of Science and Industry. All images must be properly credited. Images may not be reproduced by third parties without express written permission from the Museum of Science and Industry.
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