Master the Universe: particle and quantum physics in Utrecht


Finally, Master the Universe!” at the University Science Museum of Utrecht unveils a radical new exhibit in a state-of-the-art decor. After Months and months of hard work and a brow-mopping production, Todd van Hulzen and the Museumstudio (now StudioLouter) are proud to show to the world our ground-breaking exhibit on theoretical particle physics and the man who mastered it. The conceptual vehicle of the show is “the Theoretical Spaceship” captained by Nobel Prize winner and physics professor Gerard ‘t Hooft.

The lighting-intensive decor was constructed using electroluminescent technology. Instead of traditional halogen lighting or LEDs we stretched more than 2 kilometres of electroluminescent copper wire in intricate looping designs, suggesting computer wire-frames and science-fiction films. All of the text panels are lit by paper-thin E-L sheets, another ground-breaking technology. The play of light and dark has a slightly disorientating effect, which we quite like. The feeling it lends is that of an abstract space, discernible only with the intellect.  We confess to cheating a little bit: we took everyday display objects such as graphs and video screens, and made them “techno-sci-fi” by warping them with the use of Fresnel lenses, another ‘flat’ technology.  With one very kinetic exhibit, the “Scale Generator”, we  created an illuminated walk-in tunnel of large rotating wheels.  The wheels were mounted with imagery and data illustrating various physical scales, such as “infinitesimally tiny to mind-bogglingly large” and “immeasurably light to unfathomably heavy.”  In addition to this, a number of our other installations work on the senses: the inclined “Time Space Shuttle”, where you manoeuvre through theoretical space, and the Neutrino Detector, where you lie on a pad and watch as tiny neutrinos pass through your body. Topping it off was an illuminated acrylic installation illustrating the “Standard Model” as developed by professor ‘T Hooft.

 

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