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Rochester Museum & Science Center - Live Science: Online!

  • Dates: April 6, 2020 - June 30, 2020
  • Recurrence: Recurring daily
  • Admission: see website for details
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While they're normally enjoyed at the Museum, we're bringing some Live Science demos to your house to enjoy while you're stuck indoors! We'll be posting new videos throughout the coming weeks.

Giant Bubble Monster

What happens when you add super-cold liquid nitrogen to hot soapy water? You get a bubble monster! The hot water causes the -320° F (that's negative 320 degrees!) liquid nitrogen to rapidly become a gas. The gas particles expand really fast and mix with the soapy water to make bubbles. LOTS of bubbles!

The Thermite Reaction

In this experiment, rust, or iron oxide, reacts with aluminum to produce iron and aluminum oxide. The reaction needs a little bit of energy to get started but once it starts it is very exothermic, meaning it releases heat energy. It releases so much energy that the temperature jumps to over 3,000 degrees F in seconds! That is hot enough to quickly melt the iron that is formed in the reaction. Thermite reactions were used to weld railroad ties together.


Nitrogen Depth Charge

First, our mandatory disclaimer - do not try an experiment like this at home!! Okay, not let's get into it.

An explosion is something getting really big, really fast. The boiling point of liquid nitrogen is -320 degree F. When we pour liquid nitrogen into the bottle it immediately starts to boil, changing from a liquid to a gas as the nitrogen molecules gain energy and spread out. A capped bottle is a closed system, so the gas can only expand so far before the pressure is too great and the bottle explodes because the gas inside needs to take up more space. Throwing the bottle in water before it explodes helps heat the nitrogen faster and makes the explosion more visual.

Be sure to turn down the volume a bit on this one, it can be loud!

Mastodon Toothpaste

What happens when you add potassium iodide to hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2? Mastodon Toothpaste! 

Adding potassium iodide to hydrogen peroxide causes the peroxide to quickly break down into water and oxygen gas. The reaction gives off heat adding even more energy to the quickly moving molecules of oxygen gas and boiling water. Adding a little liquid soap to the reaction creates soap bubbles of trapped oxygen that explode upwards from the force of the fast-moving gases. 

Air Cannon

Today, we’re making an air cannon! This activity demonstrates the fact that air occupies space. As the plastic wrap is pushed into the interior of the bottle, the space inside the bottle gets smaller, forcing some of the air out of the hole. The smaller the hole, the faster the air comes out of the bottle, and the more force your air cannon will have! Follow along with the video and check out our website for detailed instructions to help you build your own air cannon! Instructions:

Molecules On The Move

The attraction of water molecules to one another is known as surface tension. Today, we’re demonstrating how dish soap breaks that surface tension in water so it can squeeze into smaller cracks and behind the grease and grime on your dishes; and get those germs off of your hands! All you need to get started is a pie dish, water, pepper and your go-to dish soap.