The Exploratorium is a 21st-century learning laboratory and museum based in San Francisco. Since 1969, we’ve offered visitors and learners around the world the opportunity to experience everyday scientific phenomena firsthand through creative, thought-provoking exhibits, educational tools, and programs. We promote an inquiry-based approach to learning—one that ignites curiosity about the world around us, encourages exploration, and leads to profound discoveries.
The science "snacks" on this website are fun, hands-on activities developed and thoroughly tested by the Exploratorium Teacher Institute. Dive in and discover what we're all about!
Charge! That’s what this area of physics is all about (well, electrical charge and its motion, to be exact). Explore electricity, magnetism, and electromagnetic fields—and harness the power to transform sound into light.
Can you listen to a beam of light?
Audio signals can be transmitted along radio waves through space, and in electrical pulses through wires. Visible light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation can carry audio signals, too. In this activity, learn how to build a simple device in which the signal from a radio is transmitted along a beam of light traveling between a light-emitting diode (LED) and a solar cell.
This science snack was developed by Exploratorium Teacher Institute staff Don Rathjen and demonstrated by Exploratorium Senior Scientist Paul Doherty.