Bubbles: Science in Soap
Visitors delight in experimenting with surface tension, concocting new ways to create a bubble, crafting a foam sculpture, and injecting a bubble with mist.
The Bubbles: Science in Soap exhibition includes:
Foam Fountains—Feel, scoop, hold, and form bubble foams.
Three foam stations encourage visitors to compare different-sized foams. The foams are surprisingly light because they are made up almost entirely of air, similar to the bubbles in a bubble bath, bubbles of shaving cream, or the bubbles you see when you’re washing the dishes. Foam is a collection of bubbles.
Bubble Domes—Experiment by filling bubbles with mist.
Hold the tip of the tube in the bubble solution to make a dome, or dip the tip of the tube in the bubble solution, then raise it up to make a bubble at the end of the tube.
Try inserting air or mist into a bubble, create a bubble city, or make a bubble inside a bubble. The two stations with six hoses invite collaboration and experimentation with others.
Giant Bubbles—Pull the hoop through the air to make a giant bubble.
Gently lift the hoop to make a soap film, and see if you can form a bubble over your head, or create interesting and unique shapes. Very large bubbles are tricky to make because the soap film has to stretch extra far. Giant bubbles are actually shaped by the air around them, so they aren’t always round.
Sheet of Soap—Discover the force of surface tension while experimenting with large soap films.
Pull the rope down to make a bubble sheet. As it’s stretched, notice the rainbow-like colors that indicate the changing thickness of the soap film. See what happens when you pop part of the sheet. The surface tension that holds the molecules of soap film together pulls the string outward when the film inside the loop is popped.
Bubble Booth—Get inside a three-sided bubble.
Surround yourself in a massive bubble and try talking with a friend on the other side, or see if you can push your hand right through the bubble “walls.” Try blowing on the sheet to change the shape of the film. The soap film will stretch, making a rounded bubble. If you blow on it just right, you can cause the bubble to break free of the sheet.
Blow a Bubble—Use the blowers or your breath to make a bubble, or wave the custom-designed wands in the air.
The two bubble stations each have three blower holes, providing plenty of opportunities to make lots and lots of bubbles and bubble clusters. Hold a wand over the blower to make a bubble. Use a wand with multiple holes to make bubble clusters. Experiment with different-shaped bubble wands and bubble-blowing techniques, and invent some bubble tricks of your own.
Bubble Dropper—Enjoy a whimsical bubble-art machine that drops bowling-ball-sized bubbles from the ceiling.
Wet your hands and try to catch the bubble as it drops, or gently blow on the falling bubble—aiming for the target. The projection screens show the turbulence of the bubble solution as a bubble is formed.
Soap Shapes—Explore the math of soap film formation as wire frames demonstrate how bubbles have a geometry all their own.
Use the three different wire frames to create soap film shapes that connect in surprising ways. Observe the shape of the soap film in each frame, and then pop a part of the film to see how the shape changes. Mathematicians use computers and formulas to predict the complex shapes of soap films. These unique shapes have inspired both architects and artists.
Bubble Recipe—Get information on how to mix the best bubble recipe and learn a little chemistry at the same time.
Take a recipe card home with you to make perfect bubbles and continue experimenting on your own. Find more information about bubble chemistry and bubble solution recipes at soapbubble.wikia.com.
Bubble Art—Take a closer look at the large wall panels for an expanded view of bubbles.
From bubble-inspired architecture and magic, to frozen bubbles, these images present a fresh take on the bubbles we see in our daily lives.
Bubbles: Science in Soap was made possible by donors to the David Goudy Discovery Fund.