Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh





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Adventures in 3-D


Adventures in 3-D, a new exhibit premiering at Carnegie Science Center April 11, explains how the eyes and brain work together--and how optical illusions, 3-D technology, and even a simple painting can appear radically different than they really are.


Here’s a peek at Adventures in 3-D’s five modules containing 20 must-see-to-be-believed (or maybe not) interactives.


* Perception/Illusion: Why do we see three dimensionally? Well, because human eyes are slightly set apart, each eye registers something different. This is called binocular disparity. Depth perception and a 3-D representation of the world results when the brain combines the eyes’ two images. This module uses fun-filled games and demonstrations to explain this and other vision phenomena such as stereo blindness (and, no, that’s not the inability to see a hi-fi).


*Perspective Exhibits: Why do some paintings seem almost real? It’s because the artist has created the impression of depth. This module features several fine art reproductions to explain different artistic perspective techniques. A special area focuses on trompe l'oeil art--French for fool the eye--where light, shadow, and perspective are used to create the illusion of three dimensions in a two-dimensional painting. 


* 3-D Technology: Questions about how 3-D illusions are created, and why special glasses are needed to view 3-D movies are answered here--including information on devices and technologies such as autostereograms, vectograms, and anaglyphs.


* 3-D Applications: Sure 3-D technology is fun, but what are the practical applications? Well, there’s topographic maps, in which three-dimensional information is encoded on a two-dimensional surface. And get this: aerial stereo photography, where photos taken from slightly different angles are viewed as pairs, was used during World War II to locate camouflaged enemy campsites. And let’s not forget the many forms of medical imaging, 3-D computer interfaces, and virtual reality.


* 3-D Galleries: Learn about the history of 3-D illusions such as the 1838 reflecting mirror stereoscope and the 1850 lenticular stereoscope--the first practical 3-D viewing device. In this module popular 3-D games are explained--from Magic Eye pictures (autostereogram), holograms, and 3-D movies (anaglyphs) to the modern art form of skoll-o-grams (pschologram) and the magic Winky-Blinky eyes (lenticulars), popular in the 1940s and ‘50s.

Don’t miss the informational 3-D multi-media movie, complete with special polarized glasses, in a 1950s-style mini theater. And remember: Don’t believe everything you see.     




Now in its fourth year, the SciTech Festival is a community-wide celebration of innovation and creativity, where science and technology achievements in western Pennsylvania and around the world are recognized. More than 35 corporations and universities will participate, and this year’s special guest is Kevin Warwick, Ph.D., professor of Cybernetics at England’s University of Reading. Warwick is the world's leading expert in cybernetics and the first human cyborg (he had a chip surgically implanted in his arm to transmit data back and forth from his central nervous system to a computer). There’s something for every taste, interest, and age.



* Family Days, April 5-13, features educational events and entertainment including “Big Horn,” a high-tech vehicle with more than 100 horns, bells, and whistles, and “Earth Harp,” the world’s largest stringed instrument. Members of the Buhl Planetarium and the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will be on hand for Astronomy Weekend, April 5 and 6.


* High School Days, April 9-11, provides teens the chance to explore a plethora of sciences--from robotics and information technology to biotechnology and the environment. In addition, they can participate in corporate presentations, job shadowing, and career cameos.


* The 64th annual Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair  April 4-5 at Heinz Field. Some 700 students will display their projects and compete for more than $300,000 in cash, scholarships, and prizes.


* College Days, April 10 & 12. Features industry experts, interactive demonstrations, panel discussions, the Collegiate SciTech Research Symposium (April 10), and the first Annual Robotic Volleyball Competition (April 12).


* Adult programming, held throughout April, includes presentations by experts and panelists, arts performances, audience discussions, and the SciTech cyborg-themed Film Festival with Pittsburgh Filmmakers, April 11-13.


For a list of programs, venues, and schedules, call 412.237.3335 or visit  

Summer Camps



Carnegie Science Center’s Summer Camps run June 16 to August 15. Half-day and full-day camps as well as preschool and family workshops are available. This year full-day camps will be offered for the first time to kindergartners through second graders.


The popular Kennywood Science (including a park visit), Robotics, LEGO Mania, and Space Camp return and two new camps debut--Science Survivors and Design Challenge. At Science Survivors, children will learn about Lewis & Clark, explore the three rivers, and see the new Lewis and Clark movie at the Rangos Omnimax Theater. At Design Challenge students will create and build a scale model city.


For more information, visit, or call 412.237.1637.





Get ready for baseball season at UPMC SportsWorks’s pitching cage. The regulation-length--60 feet, 6 inches from mound to home plate--cage provides digital speed readouts of player’s pitches. And while speed is good (professional ballplayers can pitch at speeds of 100-plus mph), accuracy is key. It’s harder than it looks…but that’s why the pros earn the big bucks.


The exhibit has facts about America’s favorite pastime--including why curve balls curve and why the pitching mound is 15 inches above the baseline (think gravity). But before doing a Randy Johnson imitation, please try the warm up exercises listed by the cage: Let’s have an injury-free season.




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