STS.035 Exhibiting Science

STS.035 Spring 2017: Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:00 – 3:00 pm in 10-150

Gravity Waves! Come develop exhibits to demonstrate some of the principles involved in the recent success of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory!

 This is a small, project-based class where students learn the art of exhibiting by developing their own exhibits for display on the campus.

In spring 2015, STS.035 students developed Tech Life, a 30’ long “roller coaster” representing the ups and downs, twists and turns of the MIT learning experience. And in spring 2016, students developed Glo-Ball, a dynamic graphic representing a century of student life at MIT.

This year, STS.035 students will contribute to the development of a major display in the MIT Museum about the science and technology of gravity wave detection, in which MIT researchers play a very prominent role. With advice and support from MIT Professor Rainer Weiss, co-founder of LIGO, students will devise one or more displays designed to demonstrate some of the underlying principles of gravity wave detection. These displays will be mounted as prototypes in the Compton Gallery in 10-150, and eventually incorporated in the larger MIT Museum exhibit.

The class will combine short seminars, talks by physicists, including Professor Weiss, and exhibit designers, and a great deal of hands-on exhibit development work. Most classes will be taught in the MIT Museum Studio where students will be provided with workspace, materials and equipment.

Space is limited on this project-based course, which is particularly suited to students with strong backgrounds in physics, optics, mechanical engineering, and the visual arts.

HASS-A, 2-2-8 units

Prereq: One CI-H/CI-HW subject, permission of instructor

Preference to students who have taken STS.034

Enrollment limited to 20 (enrollment will be by lottery if more than 20 students register)


John Durant, MIT Museum Director & Adjunct Professor, STS Program

Seth Riskin, Manager, MIT Museum Studio