Rainbow prismatic image of 3D printer

Additive Manufacturing In A Time of Necessity

The growing pandemic caused by COVID-19 has created an unprecedented, rapid convergence between open source technology and healthcare.  Makers and technologists around the world are stepping up and galvanizing forces to develop and deploy materials and equipment to meet the demands being placed on world governments to protect the general public, as well as addressing the needs of health professionals working around the clock to put a stop to the disease.  But how is something like this even possible given the magnitude of the situation at hand?

Flowering Trees at Sunset

#FranklinOutside Scavenger Hunt

You’re not alone—alongside the uncertainty and worry of the past few weeks, the stress of confinement can feel overwhelming. Spending our days inside distanced from friends and loved ones can take a heavy toll on our personal well-being.

It’s during uncertain times like these that I look to nature for a relaxing escape. While the natural environment certainly can’t solve all of our ailments, plenty of scientific evidence documents the positive effect spending time in nature has on both our mental and physical health.

International Space Station

Seeing the International Space Station!

Updated April 27, 2020

Looking for something unique to do with your spare time? Become an ISS spotting expert! All you need is your phone and a place to view from – your backyard, your front step, a nearby intersection – but no telescope. This is almost exclusively a ‘naked eye’ experience to be done only when the sky is clear. Share this information with your family across the region, then do it together as a group!

Here’s when to look.  Timing is specific to the Philadelphia region.

seasonal tilt diagram

Astronomy with a Flashlight

Want to know the astronomy behind why it’s cold at this time of year?  Logically, it must be because Earth is farther from the sun, right? Nope! Actually we’re now closer to the sun in our orbit now than at any other time of year. So why is it cold? Grab your flashlight and let’s find out!

Let’s talk about the northern hemisphere first.

The first day of winter

Winter Solstice

Most of us dread the first day of winter. We think of it as the shortest day, the cold day, the dark day. But the first day of winter (aka the winter solstice) actually is the gateway to Spring and has an astronomical connection. In fact, it’s all about the astronomy! Here’s how.

Diagram of the human brain showing locations of the thalamus and amygdala

Fear and Your Brain

It’s a dark and stormy night. Boom! You hear a loud crash. You see a flash of movement. The fear sets in. Your brain has jumped into alert mode.

Fear is an essential function of the brain. Throughout human evolutionary history, fear has kept us alive. How does it work? A cascade of reactions in your brain and body helps you prepare for danger. Sensory information—like what you see and hear around you—first zips straight to a part of your brain called your thalamus. The data then branches off into two different routes.

Science Interpreter playing guitar with Sci-Chella logo

Sci-Chella: Music + Art + Science

When most people hear ‘Music Festival’ the first thing that comes to mind is probably not SCIENCE.  You might think crowds, gross bathrooms, a bunch of music acts they have never heard about, warm drinks, and people in flower crowns.  And while frequent festival-goers will likely confirm that the aforementioned list is very typical, the greater experience is that it's a giant experimental playground.  In recent years many scientists and educational organizations are injecting themselves into the music festival equation.  They recognize that the festival audience tends to embrace alternative

Sustainability Teacher Training Group

What Does Sustainability Mean to You?

Last week forty Philadelphia-area teachers gathered to explore this question in depth at The Franklin Institute’s second annual sustainability and climate change teacher training. Led by TFI’s Curriculum Developer Rachel Castro-Diephouse and Environmental Scientist Dr. Rachel Valletta, this three-day event examined how teaching for sustainability can be a solution to one of the world’s most pressing problems: climate change.

astronaut on moon with American Flag

The Future of Space Exploration

What an exciting time it was. Fifty years ago, in July 1969, three American astronauts accomplished what the entire world would experience as the most daring expedition ever attempted by humans, a round trip journey to the moon. As a 14-year old with a deep interest in anything related to space exploration, for me every step of the newly emerging space program brought a rising level of excitement and anticipation. New giant rockets, the most complex machines ever designed, were being built to lift astronauts to the moon.

Science After Hours: Pride

Science can be a 'Drag'

For our first ever Pride edition of Science After Hours, I wanted to look at ways to showcase the amazing potential that comes when people work together and collaborate on something amazing. So I thought of pairing 3 of the museums amazing Science Interpreters with 3 local Drag Queens to create 3 unique experiences for our guests that night. But how do you pair off 6 larger than life personalities, each with a passion for flare and expressing themselves…well like it’s a dating profile.

Blog Header image for Making a Scientific Illustration

Making a Scientific Illustration

The process of creating scientific artwork differs depending on the project, the subject matter, and the media used, but the first step always begins with an idea and lots of research into the science of the subject.  What truly makes the piece is the information behind it, and the scientific illustrator has the unique position of translating the scientific concept into a visually appealing presentation and artwork.   

A banner in The Franklin Institute reads, "Tech Studio: Coming Soon. Engineered by TE Connectivity."

National Engineers Week and the New Tech Studio Project

February 17-23rd is National Engineers Week® and the Franklin Institute is ready to celebrate. Established by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, National Engineers Week® is a time when educational organizations, corporations, and government agencies across the country highlight the positive influence that engineers have on everyday life.