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The Ribosome Machine is Coming Home for a Pit Stop...

And augmented-reality upgrades are in the works!
March 30, 2019

The Ribosome Machine at The Health Museum in Houston, TX.

The Ribosome Machine was seen by over 57,000 people!

The Ribosome Machine, one of the Bradbury’s 3 traveling exhibits available for loan to museums and science centers around the country, will be on its way home shortly. A collaboration between Museum design staff and Karissa Sanbonmatsu of the Lab’s Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group, The Ribosome Machine exhibit is a visually stunning interpretation of the ribosome, its behaviors, and the great promise it holds for fighting diseases like cancer.   

The exhibit premiered at the 2017 Association of Science and Technology Centers Conference, drawing rave reviews for style and content, and quickly gained the attention of museum professionals looking to borrow exceptional, science-themed exhibits requiring little real estate. With cutting-edge scientific content, a modest footprint of only 100 square feet, and a price tag of free, The Ribosome Machine found its first borrower, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), within hours of the conference doors opening. Located in Tampa, Florida, MOSI shared The Ribosome Machine with over 21,000 visitors before the exhibit shipped to its next destination, The Health Museum in Houston, Texas, in August 2018. 

The Health Museum took the exhibition up a notch by projecting computer-generated models of the ribosome (provided by Team Sanbonmatsu) and offering educational activities provided by the Bradbury Science Museum. Displayed as part of a larger exhibit, Body as a Work of Art, More than Skin Deep, The Ribosome Machine saw over 36,000 visitors during its exhibition at Houston. 

So, The Ribosome Machine toured a bit of the southern US, was seen by over 57,000 people, and is now scheduled for a return trip to the Bradbury for an upgrade/pit-stop.  The Bradbury’s staff has re-worked the traveling exhibit’s design to include components slated for our upcoming gallery version; augmented-reality components; new educational materials for student visitors; updated graphics; and an original comic character to help our youngest viewers understand the rather weighty scientific concepts. With these upgrades in place, the traveling version will hit the road again this fall, sharing the Lab’s scientific research with the nation at each stop. 

The Bradbury’s National Outreach Traveling Exhibits (NOTEs) program offers science and health museums and science centers the chance to borrow an exhibit designed around leading-edge research happening right now at the Lab, for free! They receive current, engaging content for their visitors and the Lab gets to share its innovative solutions to global issues with thousands of people who might otherwise never know how connected they are to Los Alamos and the scientists working here. 

For more info on the Bradbury's NOTEs program, contact Stacy Baker at slbaker@lanl.gov