Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Don't tell.
We visited the secret city.

Well, I guess you CAN tell, since it's not been a secret since WWII. It even has a cool museum, the American Museum of Science and Energy

Because it had been so long since we visited Oak Ridge (Stan thinks we carried Rachel the last time), we decided to do it again this trip to TN.

There was much that seemed new to us including the Twin Towers Memorial greeting visitors entering from the parking lot.
In the patio area beyond the towers, in opposing corners facing each other like prize fighters are two large whisper dishes. They look like huge satellite dishes with four metal arms extending outward and meeting in the center as a small circle in which you speak quietly to the person listening waaaaaaay over there at the other dish. Cool. The kids played with them each time we passed by.
I did discover ACCIDENTALLY that when one stood in the middle of the patio, midpoint between the two dishes, the conversation could be overheard.

Jacob: "Hay, Caleb..."
Caleb: "What?"
Jacob: "You're a NOOB."
Caleb: "YOU'RE the noob."

Ah, the sweet nothings siblings whisper to each other.

There were lots of great activities in the museum including a MUSEUM detailing the history of Oak Ridge complete with timeline.
On the bottom floor were many mind bending puzzles plus an area where some science fair winning displays were, well, displayed. I had the kids look at them to oooh & ahhhh and see how impressive was this work of 4th & 5th graders. The hands-on portions of the museum were the biggest hits. These were made on the second floor.

Here we reflect on everyone's super powers.

One of the museum's new offerings is a bus tour of the old nuclear facilities. We had to sign wavers and agree to be searched & to take photos only when allowed. We should stop glowing in the dark before Christmas arrives. JJ!
Here's the first graphite reactor, fueled by natural uranium, where radioisotopes were produced and nuclear research was done. Our tour guide used to work & still lives here and provided excellent eyewitness tales.
A to scale model of the facility.
This part of the tour featured their newest research facility. They are very proud of how 6 different universities are working together.

We returned from the tour in time for a special program in the auditorium. Who did the show feature? Your favorite tourists!
It's my understanding that these little units do basically the same thing as the big guy described above.
Our hair (yes, I did it too!) slowly began to rise once the machine started hummmming & making sparking sounds.
Us up on box shaking our heads: shake, shake, shake & the hair starts waving
Audience: laugh, hoot, hollar, snicker, hahahahahahaha
Our hair stayed friendly even when we weren't touching the little sizzler until we stepped off the box.
Us stepping down: hop! Our hair: flop!
Audience: Oooooooh, Ahhhhhhh.
Cool science! It takes so little to entertain.
We volunteered Jacob & Andrew when the MC asked for a couple of "strong guys". Who better than our weight lifters? The static electrical charges were passed along in a shocking manner - we could see the light flashes. Bzzzzt! Bzzztbzzzt! We laughed because the guys KEPT shocking each other instead of stopping once they found out that's what happened. Then they switched spots & did it some more. Bzzzzzzt!
I guess the secret is now out.


luke and wyatt's mom said...

what fun to watch brothers torcher eachother! (don't think i spelled that right) i guess this is what i have to look forward to...more sophisticated ways of making your brother suffer!

Patti said...

They didn't understand why I entitled their video "shock the monkey"...