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After Dark: Glow

cubatronKeep the early dark of this winter’s night at bay with light, color, and warmth. Excite your atoms at Glow, our annual festival of ebullient lights and subtle glows celebrating the close of the year. Bask in the mesmerizing gleams of special installations and kinetic sculptures, take a shine to illuminating exhibits, and show your sparkle with scintillating activities. 

Illuminating Science Toys With Ray Hall of @PhysicsFun 7:30 p.m.  

Bask in the glow of wondrous objects from toys to artistic creations that emit or use light to showcase the array of amazing phenomena that we call physics. Join Dr. Raymond Edward Hall for sparkling demonstrations and discussion of objects from his @physicsfun “Instagram museum”, highlighting the physics of how light is created, manipulated, and perceived.

LASER Waterfall With Desiré Whitmore 8:00 p.m.

You’ve seen LASERs shoot through the air but what about in water? Come learn about the index of refraction and the speed of light in different materials with Exploratorium senior physics educator Desiré Whitmore. 

Glow Science With Ron Hipschman 8:30 p.m. 

Why do things give off light? There are many ways to make light, and all of them involve exciting atoms and molecules in some way. Join Exploratorium physicist Ron Hipschman to investigate some of the more colorful ways to make things glow. Using electricity, heat, and light, he’ll conduct a variety of demonstrations to illuminate the electromagnetic spectrum. Participants will receive a pair of diffraction grating glasses to take home.

Language Cloud By Laura Stevenson

The human brain is trained to seek out patterns in visual and linguistic inputs but Language Cloud might put it to the test. Scavenged and repurposed from old neon signs, let this pleasantly disorienting jumble of letters and words teach you about the flexibility of language and the plasticity of the brain.

Light Chimes By Scott Morgan

As a breeze swings a windchime, so will the colors of San Francisco illuminate The Light Chimes this winter at the Exploratorium. Using colors drawn from photographic images of San Francisco street art, the 60 animated chimes light up the deep dark of winter. In this context, the word chimes is both a noun and a verb: the light “chimes” as colors “blow” through the piece.

Kaleidoscope By Karina Smigla-Bobinski

Experience a landscape of astonishing visual effects in the interactive installation Kaleidoscope by manipulating inks into new forms and "virtual colors," you can generate hyperdynamic new images that visualize motion energy into engaging, chaotic patterns.

Cubatron Core By Mark Lottor

Bask in the cascading colors of this tremendous, trippy, torus-shaped sculpture by returning artist Mark Lottor. Twenty-six feet in diameter and eighteen feet high, Cubatron Core is made of 3,840 individually controllable RGB LEDs. Let it light up your night. 

The Everbright By Hero Design

The Everbright is art you make art with think the Lite-Brite of your childhood, but with dials that rotate endlessly through a spectrum of hundreds of colors. Made with evolutionary biology in mind, The Everbright considers the integration of the hands and eyes in the development of humankind and the ways in which infants take in and manipulate the world around them. 

Mesmer By SMA Events

Are you . . . mesmerized? Using motors, circular geometric elements, an LED backplane, and foamed cast acrylic, Mesmer plays on the eye’s ability to create imagery and animation from simple shapes, inducing a dreamlike state. Mesmer was designed by Ecco Pierce, and fabricated by Matthew Andreoli, Sean Cusack, and Quincy Savage.

Fibration By Ryan Pearl and Peter Tjeerdsma

A mystical mix of artistic serendipity and multidimensional math, Fibration is 3-D exploration of multi-dimensional mathematical constructions. You may find yourself mesmerized by its sinuous shape and its shifting colors the beauty of math, brought to light. Fibration is the result of a collaboration by Ryan Pearl and Peter Tjeerdsma, with aluminum welding by Jonathan Hyman, metalwork by Cjay Roughgarden, and additional software pattern design by Christine Williamson and Lydia Fernandez.

Parallax By Christine Williamson and Ryan Pearl

How do you synthesize multiple perspectives into a coherent whole? Peer into Parallax, an icosahedral mirror box inscribed with twenty distinct views into fantastical illustrated worlds. The colorful LED-lined acrylic panels highlight patterns and sequences, but when the lights go out, order gives way to surprising internal reflections.

LASER Demo With the Explainers

Unlike other light sources, lasers emit light of exactly one color, or wavelength. Take aim at the singular science of lasers through an interactive demonstration involving prisms, plexiglass, mirrors, and fog.

Glowing Scorpions With Classroom Safari

Scorpions are outfitted with armor, pincers, and venomous stingers. Did you know they also glow under blacklight? Get to know the fluorescent features of local and exotic scorpions yes, local scorpions with wildlife expert Bonnie Cromwell.

Wearable LEDs (Light-Emitting Drawings) With The Tinkering Studio

Use digital and physical tools to create your own light-up wearable during this hands-on workshop, we’ll illuminate drawings and illustrations with LEDs and etch acrylic with a laser cutter. Wear your bling all night, then take it home!

Our Glowing Bio Lab With Caitlin Jackson

Learn the fascinating uses and history of the green fluorescent protein (GFP). First discovered in the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, GFP has been used extensively as a gene marker, granting researchers a visually identifiable affirmation of gene expression. See its luminescent effect in various critters under the microscope.

Glow Tops and Glowing Paper Lanterns With Explorables

Play around with LEDs and make your own glowing toys:

Glowing Paper Lanterns

Create your own 21st-century LED paper lantern.

Glowing Tops 
Use centrifugal force to get your LED top to glow.

Thursday, 12/05/19


Website: Click to Visit


$19.95, 14.95 explO members, AD members free

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Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green Street)
San Francisco, CA 94111

Phone: (415) 528-4444
Website: Click to Visit