Physics & Arts Exhibit

This permanent exhibition invites the general public to experience the concepts of Physics in a non-intimidating, artistic setting. The omnipresence of Physics in our everyday lives is showcased and its relevance to essentially all other sciences and modern technologies is highlighted.

Included in the exhibition are interactive physics demonstrations, computer simulations, and experiments that will convey the fascination of physics to the general public and the UB community.

In April 2010 we added a number of new installations involving the construction of a series of unique sculptures and artistic graphics intended to both instruct and convey a sense of the excitement that physics offers as an intellectual endeavor. The realization of these new additions to the Physics and Arts Exhibit was made possible by the Robert and Carol Morris Fund for Artistic Expression and Performing Arts and by the continued support of the Department's alumni and friends.

Many of the exhibiits have been created by participants of the Physics and Arts Summer Institute (PASI) which brought high school students from area schools together to experience an intensive learning program that ventures to the frontier of 21st Century Physics and the fascinating world of subatomic particles. This summer program was funded by the National Science Foundation under award no. 0547564.

Fronczak Hall is home to a Foucault pendulum. Foucault constrcuted this famous pendulum for the Paris Exhibition in 1850. Foucault used a canon ball at the end of a 67 meter wire. He traced the ball's path while it was oscillating back and forth. The observed path could only be due to the Earth rotating under the pendulum. He was the first scientist to successfully demonstrate that the Earth is rotating.

The "Tachyonic Antitelephone" is a Dadaist sculpture, built by Gary Nickard. This sculpture pays homage to a thought experiment devised by astrophysicist Gregory Benford, who described an "anti-telephone" made out of theoretical subatomic particles with no mass -- tachyons -- which travel faster than the speed of light and, by definition, travel backward in time.

This sculpture has been created by Reinhard Reitzenstein. It is an artistic representation of the electron probability cloud for a giant two-atom rubidium molecule. 

The Camera Obscura has been used in both artistic and scientific contexts in the past. The architect Bruneleschi developed his theory of perspective aided in part by the Camera Obscura.