6 episodes

The fun never ends at McWane Science Center, a nonprofit, hands-on discovery museum and IMAX® Dome Theater. Four floors of interactive exhibits celebrate science and wonder — from an amazing collection of dinosaurs, to innovative environmental showcases, imaginative early childhood playgrounds, and an awe-inspiring aquarium. The energy and excitement of discovery spring to life through an extensive lineup of science demonstrations performed daily by award-winning educators. The adventure intensifies in the IMAX® Dome Theater where wide-eyed visitors experience the sights and sounds of breath-taking films on a 5-story-tall screen surrounded by three tons of high-intensity speakers. Designed to inspire a life-long love of learning, McWane Science Center has welcomed millions of visitors since opening its doors in 1998. Explorers of all ages flock year-round to see, to hear, to touch, and to experience the wonder of science in one of the South’s most unique venues.

Einstein Demonstrations Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)

    • Science
    • 4.5 • 4 Ratings

The fun never ends at McWane Science Center, a nonprofit, hands-on discovery museum and IMAX® Dome Theater. Four floors of interactive exhibits celebrate science and wonder — from an amazing collection of dinosaurs, to innovative environmental showcases, imaginative early childhood playgrounds, and an awe-inspiring aquarium. The energy and excitement of discovery spring to life through an extensive lineup of science demonstrations performed daily by award-winning educators. The adventure intensifies in the IMAX® Dome Theater where wide-eyed visitors experience the sights and sounds of breath-taking films on a 5-story-tall screen surrounded by three tons of high-intensity speakers. Designed to inspire a life-long love of learning, McWane Science Center has welcomed millions of visitors since opening its doors in 1998. Explorers of all ages flock year-round to see, to hear, to touch, and to experience the wonder of science in one of the South’s most unique venues.

    • video
    Light Defraction

    Light Defraction

    This demonstration exhibits light’s wave-like characteristics. This is half of light’s duality; the other half being light’s particle-like characteristics. Using diffraction gratings we can compare the visible parts of atomic spectra for different elements. A diffraction grating consists of a large number of equally spaced parallel slits. These slits bend light differently according to wavelength. Incandescent lights work by heating a solid piece of tungsten wire. This heating of a solid produces a variety of wavelengths, giving an impressive spread of colors when viewed with a diffraction grating. Since the other lamps are single gaseous elements, they emit only a few wavelengths of light, their individual atomic spectra.

    • 3 min
    • video
    Photo-Electric Effect

    Photo-Electric Effect

    The message is the dual nature of light. When a gaseous element is raised to a high temperature, the atoms emit radiation having discreet wavelengths. The set of wavelengths for a given element is called its atomic spectrum. Einstein showed us that light can be described not only as a wave, like a water wave, but also as a particle. This understanding of light allowed us to understand why different elements have different fingerprint patterns of light known as spectra.

    • 2 min
    • video
    Photo-Electric Effect in Action

    Photo-Electric Effect in Action

    The understanding that light interacts with matter like a particle also lead to modern information technology, like computers, TVs, and lasers. The communicator is a direct example of the Photo-Electric Effect, one of Einstein’s groundbreaking 1905 theses. This is the achievement for which he won the Noble Prize for Physics in 1921. The Photo-Electric Effect centers on the ability of light to free up electrons inside metal atoms. This induces electric current through out an illuminated piece of metal. The idea that light can physically disturb electrons denotes a particle nature of light. The energy produced is proportional to the frequency of light, not the intensity of light. This fact draws on the wave-like properties of light within the same interaction.

    • 1 min
    • video
    General Relativity

    General Relativity

    Space-Time Sheet – use a spandex sheet it is possible to show a heavy mass in the center of the grid distorting space-time. Rolling smaller balls past the mass, within the well but not into the mass, will illustrate the deflection of light that appears in an intense gravitational field. This deflection also lends itself to supporting the particle nature of light.

    • 2 min
    • video
    Color Mixing

    Color Mixing

    Mixing color light is called additive color mixing, because the combined colors are formed by the adding of light from two or more light sources together. Two or more lights added together will give more illumination than any of the lights by themselves. The primary colors of light are red, green and blue.

    • 2 min
    • video
    Speed of Light

    Speed of Light

    Einstein's crucial breakthrough about the nature of light, made in 1905, can be summed up in a deceptively simple statement: The speed of light is constant. So what does this sentence really mean? Surprisingly, the answer has nothing to do with the actual speed of light, which is 186,000 miles per second through the "vacuum" of empty space. Instead, Einstein had an unexpected insight: that light from a moving source has the same velocity as light from a stationary source. For example, beams of light from a lighthouse, from a speeding car's headlights and from the lights on a supersonic jet all travel at a constant rate as measured by all observers—despite differences in how fast the sources of these beams move.

    • 2 min

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