Friday, July 10, 2009

Into Philadelphia

Randy: Philadelphia was one of my two picks. There were two reasons I picked Philadelphia -- to see Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, etc and to see the Galileo exhibit at the Franklin Institute. Today was Galileo day. The exhibit was not what I expected, but was very good and enjoyable nonetheless. Instead of being mostly about Galileo and what he had done, it was mostly about science and engineering supported by the Medici family. The exhibit was from Florence and mostly consisted of scientific instruments and writings (books, maps, etc.) from the renaissance. The exhibit ended with Galileo's telescope. It looked good, but there was next to no information about it. Then grafted on was a second, apparently separately curated exhibit on telescopes and their history. Both exhibits were good and educational, but they didn't seem to go together very well.

The Franklin Institute is a science museum that seems to have as its main mission making science fun for children -- much like the Exploratorium. The rest of the day was spent with Reed and Bret having fun with science.

Bryn: I liked the exhibit, I found the instruments, maps and books fascinating. It was fun to see how so many things fit together during the renaissance - advancements in science and math led to advances in technology and art (such as the study of the human body). The instruments themselves were beautifully wrought. My favorite things were kits made of small, silk- or leather-covered ornate boxes, complete with tasseled carrying cords, that had individual spots for storing the brass instruments. No photos allowed, otherwise I would show them to you.

Reed: We saw two of Galileo's telescopes and two rare compasses that looked like daggers when they were closed.

Bret: Galileo discovered how the earth moved around the sun. And he was interested in sunspots so he projected them so he could draw them and put them in his book.

Reed: Galileo eventually went blind looking at sunspots, trying to prove they were not masses of celestial bodies silohouetted against the sun.

Bryn: Reed also liked the big statue of Benjamin Franklin with coordinating lights, music, and Ben's quotations. Reed remembered "Diligence is the mother of good-luck." Bret: "You can never shut the doors on wisdom." Bryn: "Genius without education is like silver still in the mine."
We took a while driving out of town during rush hour, we're staying in Cherry Hill, NJ. The boys got a kick out of the bbq restaurant we ate in - individual drinks were served in pitchers!
Tonight the boys' sleep and my blogging got interrupted by a fire drill. It was a false alarm, but we still evacuated to the parking lot and the fire dept showed up. Let's hope for a good night's sleep!
Pics: Reed experiments with wings and lift in a wind chamber; wouldn't you know, those Greek-crazy boys found an exhibit with Archimedes' screw.

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