Painting with Soap at the New York Hall of Science
Near the end of August, my family and I went to the New York Hall of Science in Corona (Queens). This museum features some 450 exhibits and displays related to science, technology, engineering and math.

Outside the museum, is a nine-hole miniature golf course with a range of holes designed to teach basic principles of space science. For example, the first hole features a rotating circle with an opening. The goal is time one’s shot so that the ball passes through the opening when it is available. If one’s swing is too late, one’s ball encounters a solid wall. If one hits the ball too early, one suffers the same outcome. Once one hits the ball through the opening, one is finished. The concept involved is the “launch window” for spacecraft.

The miniature golf course is located within the museum’s Rocket Park. This park contains exhibits related to the dawn of the space age. Exhibits include a Mercury-Atlas D Rocket and the Gemini Titan II.

Rocket Park

Inside the museum there are numerous exhibits. One can find meteorites that reached the Earth from Mars. There is a model Mars Rover that a child can control through a series of switches. There is a “Connected Worlds” exhibit containing an animated waterfall, and simulated reservoir, desert, and more. Children can move replica logs to direct water to areas that need it, especially when rainfall is scarce. One can also plant seeds to grow new plants and chop down dead ones. Cooperation among the children is essential in order for that fantasy world to flourish. There are also several areas set aside where pre-school children can engage in a range of activities.

Mars Rover “Camille”

Finally, there is a soap film painting area in which one can create a large screen of soap. White light reflecting on the front and back surfaces of the screen creates an array of shimmering colors. Artistic talent is not necessary. Anyone can “paint” with soap.

Three such “paintings” are featured below.

Soap Film Painting

Soap Film Painting

Soap Film Painting

In the end, if there’s one lesson to take away from this visit, it is that the frontiers of knowledge are as limitless as the countless permutations of patterns revealed from within the soap film. So long as there are scientists, the research, exploration, and discovery will continue without end. So long as the flame of curiosity burns from within humanity, there will be scientists who explore the world, research the unknown, and make the discoveries that benefit us all.


Pam J said:

Oh Don....

THAT is so much the point. As long as ONE mind questions.. as long as ONE person dreams a future.....

We are such an amazing species... capable of the worst of evils.. and yet SO capable of the best.. the very very BEST of GOOD.

We are Stardust literally.. its where we come from.. to what we return. The ride in between.. and the onward journey is the highest high !
8 years ago

Don Sutherland replied to Pam J:

Great point concerning "dreams" of "a future," Pam.

Imagination is of paramount importance and arguably what separates us from all other life. Imagination is a kind of water that quenches the thirst of the human spirit. Without it, the human spirit can only wither.

Considering the large role imagination plays, author L. Frank Baum declared, "Imagination has brought mankind through the Dark Ages to its present state of civilization."
8 years ago

Stormlizard said:

I agree with Pam.

One other thing needed is that we to think laterally.
8 years ago

Peggy C said:

As long as we ask 'why' - 'how'- 'when' and don't forget to keep our eyes open -

There are great people who walk among us.

Imagine !
8 years ago