Molecularium Project

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The Molecularium Project is an informal science education project of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.[1] The Molecularium Project introduces young audiences to the world of atoms and molecules using character driven stories, immersive animation, interactive games and activities, and state of the art molecular visualizations. Rensselaer's three principal Scientist / Educators behind the project are Dr. Linda S. Schadler,[2] Dr. Richard W. Siegel,[3] and Dr. Shekhar Garde.[4] The Molecularium Project began as an outreach project of Rensselaer's Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center.[5] To realize the productions, the scientists employed the creative team Nanotoon Entertainment, led by writer/director V. Owen Bush, and writer/producer Kurt Przybilla. The Molecularium Project is funded by Rensselaer, the National Science Foundation,[6] and New York State.


Pilot Show[edit]

In 2002, Dr. Schadler and Dr. Garde produced a seven-minute pilot show for the local planetarium called “Molecularium” for the Digistar II Planetarium system.[7] It introduces children to the concepts of atoms and molecules from small molecules like H2O to larger molecules like polymers.

Molecularium - Riding Snowflakes[edit]


In early 2004, Schadler, Garde, and Siegel were awarded a U.S. National Science Foundation grant to make a new Molecularium show exclusively for the fulldome medum.[8] They recruited the filmmaker and experience designer V. Owen Bush to bring the idea to life. Bush founded the production company Nanotoon Entertainment with writer/producer Kurt Przybilla to realize the new project. Bush and Przybilla proposed an adventure story of personified atoms flying a ship called the Molecularium through nanoscale materials including a snowflake, a penny, a stick of gum and the human body.

In February 2005, the team debuted "Molecularium - Riding Snowflakes" [9][10] a 23-minute digital planetarium show at the Children's Museum of Science and Technology.[11][12] In 2005, "Molecularium - Riding Snowflakes" won the Domie at Domefest in Albuquerque New Mexico.[13][14] "Molecularium - Riding Snowflakes" has shown at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland Ca., the Newark Museum Planetarium in Newark, NJ, Dubai Children’s City, UAE, and Thinktank, Birmingham, UK, among many other digital planetariums. It has been translated and versioned in Arabic, Korean and Turkish. It is Distributed by E&S, Spitz, Sky-Skan, and e-Planetarium.

In 2010, the American Library Association (ALA) selected the Molecularium Kid's Site for inclusion to its Great Websites for Kids.[15]

Molecularium - Molecules to the MAX![edit]

Molecules to the MAX![16] is a 41-minute fully animated 3D IMAX film for the Giant Screen. The film re-imagines the characters and story developed for "Molecularium- Riding Snowflakes" for an older audience and a different medium. The film's simulations and rendering were partially computed at the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations.[17] The film was produced by Nanotoon Entertainment and Developed at Rensselaer, with a gift from Curtis R. Priem, co-founder of Nvidia corporation.[18][19][20]

The digital version of the film premiered at EMPAC, in Troy, NY on Feb. 27, 2009. The IMAX version premiered at the Giant Screen Cinema Association International Conference and Trade Show in Indianapolis, Indiana, on September 22, 2009. The IMAX 3D Premiere was at the GSCA Film Expo in Los Angeles on Feb. 24, 2010. It is available in 2D & 3D for 15/70 and 8/70 large format film and in digital 3D. The film has been composed with Omnimax / IMAX Domes in mind. Molecules to the MAX! was nominated for Best Film Produced for the Giant Screen, Best Film for Lifelong Learning and Best Sound Design at the 2010 GSCA’s Achievement Awards.[21] Molecules to the MAX! has shown at the National Museum of Natural Science (Taichung, Taiwan) Maloka Interactive Museum (Bogata, Columbia), The Scientific Center (Salmiya, Kuwait), McWane Science Center (Birmingham, Alabama) Proctor's Theatre (Schenectady, New York) among others. It has been translated and versioned in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic. It is distributed to Giant Screen theaters by SK Films.


In the spring of 2012, the Molecularium Project launched NanoSpace, an online molecular theme park. Visitors to NanoSpace learn scientific concepts with games, activities and movies. Areas within Nanospace include the Hall of Atoms and Molecules, H2O park (the water cycle), Sizes in the Universe (scale and scientific notation), Material Boulevard (Materials Science), and DNA Land (Molecular Biology).


• Molecular Simulation • Data Driven Animation • Virtual Fisheye Lens

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rensselaer Magazine March 2009 - "Stealth Education"". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  2. ^ "Linda S. Schadler | Faculty Interest Inventory". 2011-02-22. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  3. ^ "Faculty Member". 2009-08-18. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  4. ^ "Faculty Member". 2009-08-18. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  5. ^ "NSF NSEC for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures". 2005-02-04. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  6. ^ "US NSF - Now Showing: Molecularium". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  7. ^ "RPI: News & Events - What Really Matters: Rensselaer, Junior Museum, and NSF Open the "Molecularium"". 2002-12-11. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  8. ^ "National Science Foundation (NSF) News - Presenting the Molecularium - US National Science Foundation (NSF)". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  9. ^ "Chemical & Engineering News: Education - Kids And Cartoons". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  10. ^ "ACS President Views Molecularium(tm) as Part of National Chemistry Week". 2005-10-19. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  11. ^ "Molecule Movie Offers New Twist for Kids - Science News". redOrbit. 2005-03-28. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  12. ^ "RPI: News & Events - Rensselaer’s Molecularium™ Show Premieres". 2005-02-04. Retrieved 2012-07-13.  C1 control character in |title= at position 47 (help)
  13. ^ "Past Domie Winners". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  14. ^ scarr at April 7, 2006 11:03 AM (2006-04-07). "UNM Today: LodeStar turns inward to become 'Molecularium'". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  15. ^ "Molecularium | Great Websites for Kids". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Ghose, Tia (2009-03-13). "Molecules to the Max - The Scientist - Magazine of the Life Sciences". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  18. ^ Nature. "Science funding: Science for the masses : Nature News". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Newest Molecularium movie: 'Molecules to the MAX'". 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  21. ^ "Giant Screen Cinema Association > Films > Film Database > FilmDatabaseDetailView". 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 

External links[edit]