Whether it's the reaction induced between one creative contraption and another equally crafty contrivance, or the joyful reactions sparked on the faces of the spectators, the MIT Museum's Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction is a one-of-a-kind, got-to-be-seen-to-be-believed engineering feat.
Artist/inventor Arthur Ganson masterminds the choreography of this Rube Goldberg Machine, assisted by MIT student teams and participants who range from Girl Scout troops to artists and engineers. Spectators talk to the teams, engage in spontaneous contraption making (materials supplied on site) and fill the seats waiting for the magic moment when all the machines are linked up setting off a chain reaction with a surprise ending.
A great family event – "kids" of all ages enjoy watching, playing and making things at F.A.T. In years past, more than 1,500 people attended this unique event - come on time to be assured of a place to watch. Your admission also gets you into the MIT Museum. Have fun!
$15 for adults or $12.50 in advance (non-refundable, available until 11/23 at 12:00 p.m.)
$5 for youth ages 5-17, students (with ID), seniors, and MIT ID-holders
Children younger than 5 admitted free with parent, guardian or chaperone
Spectator fee includes parking and free same-day admission to the MIT Museum
*Note - Accompanying adults (parents, relatives, friends) of team participants who are not listed as team members are expected to pay for admission to the event. Each student team gets one free admission to the event for a chaperone.
Your chain reaction could be as simple as books falling against one another or as complicated as a Rube Goldberg invention. Look at the Game MOUSETRAP, the Japanese TV show Pythagoras Switch, or IDEO's Incredible Global Rube Goldberg Chain Reaction Experience. See also the music video This Too Shall Pass by OK Go.
New for 2011:
The theme for F.A.T. 14 is "Sonnet." Build your link in the spirit of the 14-line sonnet or write a sonnet to accompany your machine. Perhaps you will have 14 "steps" in your reaction, or perhaps Shakespeare's sonnets will inspire your design. In addition to our usual building activities for kids, FAT 14 will feature community sonnet creation and other poetry-inspired activities. The word sonnet derives from "little song" so let your creativity sing!
Registration for F.A.T. 2011 will open after Labor Day.
Bring your chain reaction to Rockwell Cage Gymnasium (120 Vassar Street) at 11:30 AM and we'll connect your device to others to make one grand chain reaction. MIT engineers and Arthur Ganson will be on hand to help. Participants will set up their links between 11:30 AM — 1 PM, then introduce their teams to the audience, demonstrate their links and tinker from 1–3 PM. We will set off our grand chain reaction at 3:30 PM.
Parking is available in the West Garage on Vassar Street across from Rockwell Cage Gymnasium, or on the surrounding streets. LaVerde's Market and the MIT Coop, located in the adjacent Stratton Student Center on Massachusetts Avenue, will be open. All facilities are wheelchair accessible.
F.A.T. Chain Reaction is always looking for volunteers to help out during the event. Tasks include helping to run hands-on activities in the kids' area, setting up tables and chairs, selling tickets at the door, and more. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Don't forget to visit MIT Museum; the visit is free with the special F.A.T. admission. Check out Arthur Ganson's popular Gestural Engineering exhibition. The Museum will be open until 6:00 p.m. the day of F.A.T.
The Council for the Arts at MIT provides principal funding for F.A.T.