Family Science Night to feature interactive laser exhibits Friday
by Marie Nesmith
Oct 31, 2012 | 1180 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With Family Science Night set for Friday, Cantey Smith — Tellus Science Museum’s director of education — is ready to meet the challenge of making science educational and entertaining. To be held from 5 to 9 p.m., the quarterly offering will focus on lasers, highlighting exhibits created by Georgia Tech Research Institute.

“I’m always looking for relevant topics and I just thought it would be a lot of fun to bring LaserFest [to Tellus],” Smith said. “... What GTRI is bringing to us are 11 really startlingly beautiful, museum-quality laser exhibits that [the engineers there] have built ... and have continued to improve upon them.

“These are all going to be just amazing exhibits that give different applications of what a laser is. Then the scientists will be discussing the different applications of how we use light and lasers every day.”

During Family Science Night: LaserFest, Tellus will join a host of other educational sites in which GTRI researchers Mike Knotts and Jack Wood have presented the Laser Project.

“Our exhibits are designed to appeal to all ages,” Wood stated in a news release from GTRI. “Our whole philosophy revolves around how important it is to build interest in science and math in elementary, middle and high school kids.”

The Laser Project, which consists of 11 exhibits, is a component of GTRI’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics educational outreach.

According to the GTRI release, the “exhibits include a ‘laser fountain,’ which shows how light can actually follow curving pathways; a telephone exhibit that allows users to converse via a beam of light; a ray box illustrating how different shapes of glass bend light rays; and a light show that users can control, creating effects ranging from simple to complex.”

Along with GTRI’s contribution, LaserFest also will feature demonstrations by the Tellus Mad Scientists in the museum’s theater at 6, 7 and 8 p.m.; a planetarium laser show; and observatory viewings.

“We’re always looking for opportunities for individuals and for families to learn together and to experience some science as a community,” Smith said. “It’s one thing to sit down and read something in a book or to read something in a magazine, but to be able to come out in the community and have that festive atmosphere and just experiencing all these different hands-on opportunities I think is really memory making ... [and] it also helps us to learn.

“I’ve always been a firm believer that we learn by playing and laughing. I think that’s something that’s very important to us as a museum and certainly is a critical part of Family Science Night.”

Encompassing 120,000 square feet at 100 Tellus Drive in Cartersville, Tellus is comprised of four main galleries — The Weinman Mineral Gallery, The Fossil Gallery, Science in Motion and The Collins Family My Big Backyard — a 120-seat digital planetarium and an observatory. A Smithsonian affiliate, Tellus has attracted more than 700,000 visitors since opening in January 2009.

LaserFest will be included in regular admission to Tellus — $14 for adults, $12 for individuals 65 and older, and $10 for children ages 3 to 17 and students with ID — and it will be free for museum members and active military personnel with ID. Planetarium shows will cost $3.50 for non-members and $2 for members.

For more information about the museum and its upcoming events and programs, call 770-606-5700 or visit www.tellusmuseum.org.