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Carnegie MuseumsMedia Kit

Laser show times, titles, playlists, and prices are available at www.CarnegieScience
, or by calling 412.237.3400.



















Escape into the Laser Landscape
Enjoy an Evening Laser Show at Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium

“It’s not quite the theater and not really the movies,” says “Laserist” Greg Madden of the Henry Buhl Jr., Planetarium and Observatory. “Laser shows are hard to define…you don't really see a show, you experience it. People leave saying, ‘How did you do that?’”

So how do they do that? Well, like any good magician, Madden is hesitant to reveal his methods, but he did divulge a few secrets.

Each show begins with the soundtrack. Madden—who changes shows every three to four months to keep things fresh—conducts market research to see what’s hot (Brittany and Christina were hot, hot, hot last year; now they’re not, not, not) and then selects songs from a catalog offered by LFI International, a laser entertainment producer. (LFI pays the music licensing fees, and Buhl Planetarium pays LFI a user’s fee.) Madden, who operates the laser equipment, and Joe “Jupiter” Morgan and Sam “Saturn” Barna, the two star pilots who run the planetarium equipment, listen to the new soundtrack, take notes, and begin kicking around ideas. The crew then embarks on at least three hours of rehearsal—where a song could be played up to 14 times—to work out ideas and effects.

To make every show unique, no “script” is created. This approach also provides the crew the opportunity to play off the audience—whether it's a quiet group of seven, a boisterous group of college kids, or a true devotee seeing the show for the 47th time.

At an estimated 420 shows a year, these guys must be the most creative people in the galaxy.

So how does one become a laserist? According to Madden, you have to know the right person at the right time. “There’s no Laser Show University,” he says with a laugh. Madden became a star pilot “by accident” when he began volunteering at the old Buhl Planetarium in 1983. He now trains star pilots.

“ Laser show operators are born, not made,” Madden says. “It's very intuitive. You either have it or you don't, and you don't know that until you try it.”

A laserist also has to be a technician as there’s no nearby Quicky-Lube to take laser equipment that’s knocking and pinging. Most of Madden’s knowledge of the systems—covering lasers, fiber-optics, and audio—came from calling the manufacturer when things went wrong and listening to them explain how to fix the problem. Equipment includes the Lumisphere, a twin-laser, graphics projection system (the only one in use on the planet) that reflects light and color onto the full-dome theater, and the Digistar, a computer-driven projection system that produces digital, 3D stars and a range of planetarium effects.

In February, Buhl Planetarium debuted a new line-up of shows including the return of laser Led Zeppelin; Laser Laughs, a new family show; a revamped 80s show; and a Grunge show. But don’t worry, Midnight Floyd—a Pittsburgh staple for 20 years that draws a crowd ranging in age from 12 to 60-plus—is still on the roster. "There will always be a Midnight Floyd," says Madden. A discount is available to anyone wanting to see more than one show in an evening.

“ Ninety percent of the audience show up based on word of mouth,” says Madden. “Whether we have three people or 300 in the audience, they pay for a good show and that's what we give them.”


Carnegie Science Center Honored
at the White House

Seen from left to right: Howard J. Bruschi, Chairman of the Science Center’s Board; Mareena Woodbury-Moore, Youth Explorer and K-6 Mentor; Joanna E. Haas, Henry Buhl, Jr., Director of Carnegie Science Center; and First Lady Laura Bush.

At the White House on January 22, 2004, First Lady Laura Bush
presented Carnegie Science Center with the National Museum Service Award
for its outstanding community educational programs in 2003.

The awards were given to three libraries and three museums from across the country. Each institution was honored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for demonstrating national leadership through its educational and public service programs. Each organization also receives $10,000.

Representing Carnegie Science Center were Ellsworth Brown, president of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh; Suzy Broadhurst, chairman of the board of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh; Joanna E. Haas, the Henry Buhl, Jr., director of Carnegie Science Center; Howard J. Bruschi, chairman of the Science Center’s board; and Ron Baillie, director of education at the Science Center.

Also attending were Evan Frazier, executive director of Hill House Association and a member of Carnegie Science Center’s board, who has been involved in community-based activities with PNC Bank; and Mareena Woodbury-Moore, youth explorer and K-6 Mentor at the Science Center. Mareena was in the first class of Mission Discovery in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, and after 8th grade became the first student to make the transition to the on-site program for high school students, Science in Your Neighborhood.

“ Carnegie Science Center is honored to be among the prestigious field of
winners of the 2003 National Awards for Museum and Library Service,” said President Ellsworth Brown. “The Science Center believes that all residents need to be empowered in the fields of science and technology in order to embrace the opportunities of an amazing future.”

Laura Bush, a passionate advocate for educational opportunities at the nation’s libraries and museums, said, “The museums and libraries we honor today have developed innovative partnerships and programs for learners of all ages, from babies to baby boomers to seniors. Thanks to these museums and libraries, Americans of all ages are discovering the greatest lesson of all, and that is learning is lifelong.” She also noted that President George Bush has proposed a 14 percent increase in funding for IMLS in the 2005 budget, to support lifelong learning, which is “the ultimate goal of museums and libraries today.”

Profiles of the winning organizations and photographs of the award
representatives are available at www.imls.gov/whatsnew/.


Racing into the Rangos Omnimax Theater March 12
NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience

Experience NASCAR like never before through the magic of IMAX 3D technology. With NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience, you'll be transported into the driver's seat of North America's most popular spectator sport.

NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience goes behind the scenes of the races to uncover the science, technology and teamwork that make up this preeminent sport. Meet the drivers as they compete for the coveted checkered flag. Discover the technology and underlying physics that drivers depend on, and meet the millions of passionate fans who are devoted to this exciting sport.

For more information on show times, titles, and prices, visit www.CarnegieScienceCenter.org or call 412.237.3400.


On the Big Screen
Don’t miss these OMNIMAX® Movies!

There’s still time to catch three “big” movies showing at Carnegie Science Center’s Rangos Omnimax Theater. Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West and Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees continue through June; The Young Black Stallion rides into the sunset March 19.

Lewis & Clark chronicles the adventures of the explorers dispatched by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803 (led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark) to find a water passageway to the Pacific Ocean. Meticulous recreations bring to life this most compelling and heroic historic adventure.

Join the world's most famous female scientist in Tanzania's Gombe Stream National Park in Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees. Four decades of Goodall’s research into chimpanzee behavior are explored with both contemporary and archival footage. Although Goodall has appeared numerous times on National Geographic specials, this is the first time her work has appeared on the giant screen.

Young Black Stallion, a prequel to the 1979 classic and the first dramatic feature made specifically for the giant screen by Walt Disney Pictures, relates the story of a horse’s adventures with a young girl named Neera. Separated from her family in the Arabia desert during WWII, Neera befriends a wild colt she names Shetan. But once reunited with her family, Neera remains haunted by images of the “lost horse of the desert.”


Astronomy Weekend
April 3-4, 2004

On Saturday and Sunday, April 3-4, 2004 visitors can join the staff of Carnegie Science Center’s Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium & Observatory along with members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh for a two-day celebration of Astronomy and Space Science!

Pittsburgh’s astronomical weekend grew out of a grass roots “Astronomy Day” event that started in 1973. For 30 years now, professional and amateur astronomers have joined forces to share the joy of astronomy with as many people as possible during these special events. During these astronomical festivals, hundreds of thousands of people around the world will have an opportunity to see firsthand what has so many astronomers excited. Astronomy clubs, science centers, observatories, planetariums, universities, and nature centers worldwide host gatherings and activities to acquaint their visitors with local astronomical resources and facilities—all to help bring the universe a little closer.

Astronomical celebrations will take place at hundreds of sites across the United States. Internationally, England, Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, the Philippines, Argentina, Malaysia, New Guinea, and many other countries are hosting activities. Each location plans and executes special events that work best for their local community.

So, what can visitors expect? At Carnegie Science Center, visitors will be able to fly to the far reaches of the Cosmos in the Planetarium, launch model rockets along the Ohio River, study the Sun, Moon, and stars from the rooftop Observatory and get a close-up look at meteorites and Moon rocks. They will learn about the latest news from Mars and explore the universe around us through shows, lectures, workshops, and lots of hands-on fun. Activities are geared for all ages and interest levels.

Whether you’re interested in learning how to find your way among the stars, checking out the latest and greatest telescopes, hearing about the latest astronomical news, or exploring life aboard the International Space Station, this weekend is for you!

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Copyright (c) 2003 CARNEGIE magazine. All rights reserved.