Updated: Jan 15, 2019
By: William Roberts
February 24, 2016
On February 21st, my family and I decided to visit the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, a museum we had been planning to go to for years. After entering the very oddly shaped building (I was a little afraid of it collapsing while we were inside) we were astonished by the variety of different exhibits that we were able to visit.
The first room we visited was titled Forces in Motion. Some of my favorite parts of this gallery included a spot where visitors could test out their own handmade paper helicopters, a machine that could accurately throw balls through different shaped hoops, and a display where you could adjust the angle of the sail on two small boats to race them along a row of fans.
The next exhibit was titled Sight and Sound, and it was probably my favorite of them all. My favorite part of this exhibit (and the whole museum) was a long clear tube that caught our eye as we passed by. Inside of the tube was thousands of small Styrofoam balls that were smaller than BB's, and at the end of the tube was a large speaker. At first the strange device didn't do anything, but after I turned a large knob near the speaker, it started to hum which caused the small balls to vibrate. As I adjusted the knob, the frequency of the speaker changed, which caused the balls to vibrate in different wavelength patterns. In this way, it was possible to "see the sound" by watching the balls vibrating in different patterns. My parents and I sat totally amazed for several minutes staring at the mysterious device.
After viewing the sound wave machine, we tried playing a harp that had no strings in it, but used lasers instead. The affect was bizarre as the harp made noises when you strummed it but all you felt was air.
Once we finished those galleries, we were lucky enough to see their travelling exhibit titled, Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion. This display featured the ideas of da Vinci brought to life in dozens of scale or full size models based on his sketches. All of the large machines were made in Italy and were constructed with primitive tools such as the ones Leonardo himself might have used. The highlights of this room were the "tank" that Leonardo designed as a futuristic cannon armed military vehicle, a huge mortar that was aimed by turning a crank, and a saw operated by a wheel.
I had a great time at the Connecticut Science Center and learned many new facts about sound waves and the inventions of da Vinci, but I definitely wouldn't have liked it as much if I hadn't seen the da Vinci gallery, so anyone interested should visit before the exhibit closes!