Refreshing Optics Interactive Exhibits
Timeline: 6 weeks
Client: Royal Observatory, Edinburgh
Aim: To freshen up a series of exhibits in the dome at the Observatory. These exhibits are time-tested and have proven to be successful for over 20 years - 2014 was the time to freshen them up, improve aspects of them and generally improve the appearance for a visitor.
What we did: The history of the exhibits in ROE is pretty interesting - since finishing the project, I've discovered that Richard Ellam repackaged them back in '97 and a further repackaging was what we were asked to do this time.The three exhibits in question included 'splitting white light', an exploratory light table with a variety of optics and a spectroscopy exhibit where various gas tubes are viewed through diffraction gratings.In the last few years we've significantly scaled up our in-house capabilities and for projects of this size, all fabrication is done in-house which makes life a lot easier. Despite their fairly simple outward appearance, the rounded corners were an interesting challenge and we used a range of materials and techniques including the 3D printer and laser-cutter. This week there's been lots of discussion about acrylic and the top of the prism table has a very nice example of this, which was made for us by Bay Plastics in Newcastle - a company we can highly recommend.The spectroscopy exhibit is highly effective and in the photos you can see the beautiful spectrum created by them which is viewable at a good distance from the tubes. We haven't adjusted the initial setup for powering the tubes and it seems that in '97 Richard didn't either so there's still a mystery about who created them in the first place!So, the exhibits live on in their new form - there's something to be said for these classic physics experiments - they're simple and engaging and even for the seasoned physicist, they're still fun to play with! Let's hope they have plenty life in them yet!
Testimonial: "Working with FifeX was an absolute joy. The guys really understood the requirements of the exhibits - from the concepts they were describing, to the target audience - and were able to offer ideal solutions."
Tania Johnston, Senior Public Engagement Officer, Royal Observatory Edinburgh
External Link to Project Website: http://ltclarkuk.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/observatory-interactives-get-a-facelift/
External Link to Client's Website: http://www.roe.ac.uk/