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 Lights, Camera, Action! 

 Welcome to the Works Theater, where the power and drama of science and technology are on display every day on the Science Center’s fourth floor. You’ll know it by the bright new marquee, an enticing addition that only hints at what’s in store for you in the theater. So step inside and have a seat…the show is about to begin.
 Introducing…The Incredible Tower of Sound—the new multimedia extravaganza that transforms the room into a dramatic theater of sensory experiences.
 So listen up as you “travel” in an imaginary elevator through the Tower of Sound. Every stop along the way gives you an amazing virtual demonstration of sound in motion.

Sound Ideas

 First is an introduction to sound waves, where you’ll discover why sounds vary from low to high and loud to soft. Find out why amplitude makes a car horn sound different from a whisper, or why frequency makes a bullfrog’s croak sound different from breaking glass. 
Next, delve into sounds you can’t even hear. Find out how super-high frequencies, or ultrasounds, are heard by dogs, wolves and bats, but not by humans. And how elephants communicate with infrasound—frequencies too low for humans to pick up. Extremely low frequency sounds made by whales can travel through oceans for 1,600 miles. 
But we humans have our own unique abilities! Our physiology allows us to have a broad repertoire of sounds at our disposal. You’ll see how our ears convert vibrations to sounds we hear and understand, and an explanation of how hearing aids work tells us that it’s all a matter of replacing missing frequencies.
Two musical groups give audience members a chance to use all this new-found knowledge about sound. The Japanese percussion band Kodo gives us a taste of their amazing talents, and The Bobs are singing a cappella in this sound-sational treat.

Edison Goes Platinum

Then go way back to 1877 and learn how Thomas Edison recorded sound and played it back for the first time. This first phonograph was nothing more than a flexible diaphragm, a needle, a spinning tin cylinder and a cone, but it gave rise to one of the biggest business in the world—the recording industry. So we jump back to the present and compare Edison’s invention with how CD’s and cassette tapes are made today. Of course there are vast differences between the technologies of 1877 and 1999, but you’ll be surprised at how many similarities there are.
It’s a wild and exciting ride, but the elevator in the Incredible Tower of Sound brings you back safely to the “ground floor,” where you’re left with a reminder: If you want to be heard in this world, you’re gonna have to make waves!

Also At The Works

 A bolt of lightning flashes 20 feet into the air. Molten metal flows from a glowing crucible. Laser lights bounce from wall to wall. Gongs and drums send sound waves reverberating around the room. It’s not your usual theater experience--it’s much more. Set in an environment rich with industrial and technological flare, the redesigned Works Theater is a place where you can participate in live, in-depth presentations:
  • High Voltage Electricity, where hair-raising demonstrations let you experience a charge of 1.2 million volts and learn the difference between static and current electricity. 
  • Powerhouse, where nine volunteers from the audience trace the path of electricity from a lump of coal to an electrical appliance.
  • Focus on Lasers, where you’ll see different types of lasers in action and learn about the many uses for them in everyday life, from the supermarket scanner to surgery.
  • Science Below Zero shows how super-cold temperatures affect the world around us. On display are the shattering effects of liquid nitrogen on everything from balloons and rubber balls to batteries and bells.
  • Metals in the Making, a real working foundry that fires up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit while you learn the process of working with molten metal. See how a mold is prepared, and watch a casting being poured. 

Renovations to the Works Theater and the new Tower of Sound are funded by Duquesne Light; Cutler-Hammer, a unit of Eaton Corporation; Westinghouse Foundation; and Sony Technology Center – Pittsburgh.

 Go to Carnegie Science Center homepage.

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