Tesla coil created by Ed Wingate and photo by Jamie Oliver
Be mesmerized by zaps of lightning appearing just a few feet away in our newest visitor experience, Electricity Theater! This science show experience features a dazzling display of indoor bolts of musical lightning produced by twin solid-state Tesla coils. Watch the dark theater become splashed with light, and allow that spark in you to ignite as you explore the excitement of electricity and all that goes with it: Lightning, conductors, and insulators.
Come join us for new shows. Show times are:
June: Saturdays and Sundays at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4pm
No Performance Tuesday, June 17th
July and August: Daily at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm
Free with regular Museum admission:
$12 seniors and college students with ID
$11 ages 3 to 18
Free for RMSC members and children under 3
To reserve your organized group, call 585.697.1942.
Rochester Museum & Science Center Tesla Coils from House of Bogue on Vimeo.
Solid-state Tesla coils created by ArcAttack and photo by Jamie Oliver
Yes, folks, it’s MUSICAL lightning! Built by ArcAttack, a performance art group that many may remember from season five of America’s Got Talent, Tesla coils in the RMSC’s Electricity Theater are frequency tunable, meaning they can play music, whether it’s Vivaldi's "Spring", a Lady Gaga hit or “Dueling Banjos.” Merely control the pressure waves radiating from the coils, and the tunes emit. In other words, we change the musical tone of the “thunder” the lightning produces. The coils can play pre-loaded music and those talented musicians among us can even play a keyboard live, with the coils serving as speakers.
The new Electricity Theater was made possible thanks to the generous contributions of numerous donors at the RMSC’s “Big Bang” gala, celebrating the Museum’s 100th birthday in September 2012. In particular, JoEll and Patrick Cunningham matched every dollar raised at the centennial gala for the purchase and on-going operation of the new Tesla coils. Now CEO of Manning & Napier Advisors Inc. in Perinton and Vice Chair for RMSC’s Board of Trustees, Patrick Cunningham knows personally the excitement and awe that a theater like this can generate in the community. As a teen, he worked as an interpreter at the Museum of Science in Boston—home of the largest Van deGraaf generator in the world. Their generous support has made it possible for Rochester to be one of the first museums in the country to have a solid-state Tesla coil installation like this.
What IS a Tesla coil? A Tesla coil is an electrical resonant transformer circuit used to produce high-voltage, low-current, high frequency alternating-current electricity. Nikola Tesla invented his coil around 1891 with the intention of transmitting electricity wirelessly through the air. This was 50 years before mobile communication. He spent the majority of his career attempting to achieve wireless power with the goal of using a few coils spread across the globe to transmit electrical energy through the earth. Tesla also used the coils to experiment in radio transmission. Today, at the very heart of every radio, you will find a circuit exactly like that used in a Tesla coil. Tesla’s research wasn’t limited to wireless energy, though. His research included some of the first experiments of X-rays, radar, hydroelectric power, the modern electric motor, alternating current, remote control, neon lights, wireless communication, and patents contributing to the transistor.
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Music will change regularly, so be sure to come back again and again for new, shocking experiences!