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Exploratorium After Dark: Everything Matters: Neon

  • Exploratorium Pier 15 San Francisco, CA, 94111 United States (map)

Exploratorium After Dark: Everything Matters: Neon
Thursday, January 21, 6:00-10:00PM,
and the first Thursday of each month
Exploratorium, Pier 15, San Francisco, 415-528-4444
$15, 18 and over

After Dark: Everything Matters: Neon

Come be in your elements with Exploratorium host and scientific raconteur
Ron Hipschman. Follow tales of intrigue and invention, join in dynamic demonstrations, and uncover fascinating connections between individual elements and our collective human experience.

All flash and no fire, noble neon lights up streets at night with its distinctive red glow. Hear the story of its discovery, and learn its unique place among the elements. See how glass artist
Ed Kirshner creates his elegant and mesmerizing plasma sculptures, and meet photographers Randall Ann Homan and Al Barna, creators of San Francisco Neon, who will sign copies of their new book in conjunction with the event. In addition, learn about four new elements recently confirmed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) from your inimitable host, Ron Hipschman.

Neon is normally odorless and colorless, reacting with no one, not even itself. Abundant in the universe, uncommon on Earth, it drifts aloof from any bond. When isolated by Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers inside a vacuum tube in 1898, the noble gas betrayed its excitement in brilliant red. That excitement, glowing within Georges Claude’s ingeniously curved lamps since 1923, has captured our imaginations ever since.

As cities filled with letters of “liquid fire,” neon gained a glamorous aura. Handcrafted glass tubes were painstakingly bent, coated with phosphor, and filled with mixtures of neon, argon, and mercury to provide a palette beyond that signature red. Named new (fr. Greek, néos), neon seemed to confer its luster to the ads it illuminated. Nonetheless, neon signs fell behind the times, and grew synonymous with tawdry entertainments and urban neglect. Yet in today’s age of LEDs, neon’s reputation is renewed - as vintage vamp.

Not a theater, cabaret, or gallery, Exploratorium's After Dark contains aspects of all three. Each evening showcases a different topic - from music to sex to electricity - but all include a cash bar and film screenings, plus an opportunity to play with our hundreds of hands-on exhibits.Image:
Exploratorium After Dark: Everything Matters: Neon

Earlier Event: January 20
Psychonauts Salon
Later Event: January 21
astrobarry’s Astrology Salon