The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute

phillymuseum The Franklin Institute is a hands on Science Museum. It was broken up into different sections. It is located in Philadelphia, PA, about a 4 hour drive from Albany. There were lots of exhibits that were new to me.

In the electricity section there was a Tesla coil. A Tesla coil consists of two parts: a primary coil and a secondary coil, each with its own capacitor. (Capacitors store electrical energy just like batteries.) The two coils and capacitors are connected by a spark gap — a gap of air between two electrodes that generates the spark of electricity. After the spark has been made, it makes strands of plasma, like a plasma ball or lightning. Every hour it goes off with a bang, literally, and if your not expecting it, it’ll make you jump a mile.

There was a heart that you could walk through with signs on the walls that tell you what each part is and what it does, as well as a room with platforms you could climb on, that simulated what the inside of the brain was like (sort of). There were rooms explaining how the nervous system works and what it does. There was a section with parts of the human body. If you spent enough time there, you could get your Ph.D as a doctor!

In the Isaac Newton room there are lots of exhibits with gravity and physics stuff, such as chairs with ropes and pulleys where you could lift yourself up in, and an arch where you send a ping pong ball flying across it. There was a large scale marble maze, and on top another one with even larger marbles! In fact, they were more like bowling balls.

There was also a demonstration using liquid nitrogen. It was teaching about the different states of matter (not including plasma). At the end, the man leading the demonstration took the left over liquid nitrogen and threw it on the floor. It skittered across the floor like little bits of ice, and then disappeared (it was very funny). It is a place worth visiting.