The Santa Maria Experiment Exhibit

October 8th, 2007 - October 8th, 2007 | PROJECT

The Santa Maria Experiment exhibit concerns the original and successful invisibility research that initially took place in Columbus, OH in 1994 and documents the scientific principles behind how and why this research worked. It consists of two display panels filled with charts, articles and photographs and is written so that elementary children can easily read and understand the information. It also includes a video documentary for viewing that shows the research in progress and demonstrates its abilities as well as limitations. The exhibit gets its name from the fact that the largest target used for the invisibility tests in 1994, was the full scale replica of Christopher Columbus' flag ship, the Santa Maria. The ship was made to appear almost complete invisible when viewed through a special light bending material that lead investigator, Marshall Barnes, used to see if refracted light would indeed produce "mirages of invisibility". The story about this research eventually went around the world and in 2006 it was suggested that a permanent exhibit be set-up for educational purposes and be a positive draw for visitors. Housed at the Santa Maria Seeds of Change Visitor Education Center on the Scioto riverfront in downtown Columbus, OH,and officially opened on Columbus Day 2007, this is the only exhibit in the world that brings this much fantasized, as well as scientifically misunderstood subject, into accurate, scientific focus.

Project Website(s)

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Project Products

Team Members

Marshall Barnes, Principal Investigator, SuperScience for High School Physics


Funding Source: Donor


Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Nature of science | Physics | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits