November 13, 2015 |
More than 1,400 light-years away, in a constellation named for its likeness to a swan, lies a planet a lot like Earth. Called Kepler-452b, it orbits a star similar to our sun, at just the right distance so that its surface temperature would allow the presence of liquid water. We would have no idea it was out there, along with more than 1,000 other planets discovered in the last six years, but for the stubbornness of William J. Borucki. The NASA astronomer is one of eight new winners of the annual awards bestowed by the Franklin Institute being announced Thursday.
October 30, 2015 |
The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent and the Woodmere Art Museum are exploring a partnership that could produce a merged institution devoted to exhibiting more than three centuries' worth of the region's entire range of art and artifacts, according to officials at both institutions. The exploration process, funded by William Penn Foundation grants of $867,075 to each institution, will initially lead to a joint public exhibition opening in about a year at both, tentatively titled "A More Perfect Union.
October 21, 2015 |
Running in museums: Typically prohibited. Running in the Franklin Institute's recently renovated SportsZone : Totally encouraged. When the 3,600-square-foot, 21-interactive-activity, new-gym-smelling permanent exhibit reopens to the public Saturday, expect a long line for "Athletes in Action. " The 40-foot dash lets two visitors compete side-by-side against virtual versions of (choose one!) Eagles WR Jordan Matthews, wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden, a marathon runner, a Paralympic sprinter or the comparatively slow yet surprisingly speedy (considering that tummy)
October 2, 2015 |
WITH "THE MARTIAN" generating terrific early buzz (see Gary Thompson 's 4-star review and interviews with star Chiwetel Ejiofor and author Andy Weir starting on Page 25), 20th Century Fox is pulling out all the stops to get people into theaters. Part of their campaign landed stars Sebastian Stan and Mackenzie Davis , the film's NASA consultant Dr. Jim "Mr. Mars" Green and retired NASA astronaut Nicole Stott at the Franklin Institute Planetarium on Wednesday for a discussion with chief astronomer Derrick Pitts . We got a little space with the foursome before the event.
August 18, 2015 |
WHEN MILTON Freedman put the announcement of his mother's death online, the shock spread across the country. "I was blown away by the messages people sent in," Milton said. "How respected she was. How many friends she had. " His mother, Brenda Ruth Freedman, was a quiet force in many people's lives. "She touched and changed the lives of many," her son said. One man told how Brenda was someone he could always go to with his problems, talk them through and get good advice. "He said he didn't know what he was going to do without her," Milton said.
August 8, 2015 |
Sure, Billy the goat is cute and Duck Girl is elegant, but we think the sculpture that's the most fun in Rittenhouse Square is Antoine-Louis Barye's 1832 work Lion Crushing a Serpent . (Well, maybe not for the snake, but for everybody else.) That's because you can fit your arm through the lion's mouth and make it look like you're Tarzan. Judging from the worn spots on the bronze around the big cat's jaws and teeth, it looks like many generations have figured this out. (There's also evidence of sympathy for the slithery reptile - the snake's head is polished to a butterscotch hue, as well.)
July 25, 2015 |
Be honest: Everybody likes to get muddy, slimy, oozy, or gooey - it's just that kids are way better at it because they have that great excuse of being, well, kids. As we get older and larger, we need to find reasons for getting messy - gardening, fixing the car, running. Here's a new one: Science! The Franklin Institute's popular Mess Fest returns for a fourth year, bigger and better, with different themes for each day - "Nasty Nature," "Art and Design," Splish Splash," and "Gross Anatomy" - and demonstrations including the watermelon blast, mud volcano, trash-can rocket, bubble explosion, and paint bucket dump.
July 17, 2015 |
City's Latest Hot Roast Philly's ever-perking cafe scene has produced another gem - this one for Logan Square. Peddler Coffee Alchemy, a Port Richmond-based roaster that made its first public forays last year at the Franklin Flea, has settled a permanent cafe with Third Wave style (exposed brick, pour-overs) into the former Darling's space at 21st and Spring Streets behind the Franklin Institute. Peddler leans toward lighter roasts (no "carbon flavor"), but keeps it accessible. I was especially impressed with this Nicaraguan Santa Candida, which is one of Peddler's workhorse beans, prepared with equal success as espresso, iced and silky smooth off the slow-dripping Kyoto brewer, or simply as a traditional drip-filter.
July 8, 2015 |
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway has often served as the city's grandest stage, relegating its otherwise starring collection of cultural institutions to second billing. Unfortunately, they may not get even that much when Pope Francis becomes the Parkway's most prominent guest in a generation (with all due respect to Beyoncé): Authorities could require the museums to close as a security precaution. With a million or so people expected to gather in Philadelphia for the Catholic Church's World Meeting of Families in September, disruption will be inevitable and safety paramount.
July 6, 2015 |
During September's great papal convergence, when well over a million Catholics and associated others are expected to blanket the city from river to river, more than a few visitors might want to see the riches arts and culture groups have worked hard to lay out before them. Right there on the Parkway, at the locus of festivities for Pope Francis' visit, an exhibition of Bibles beckons at the Free Library. The Franklin Institute is flying in treasures from the Vatican. And for a knowing crowd, a postcard-sized 15th-century oil by Jan van Eyck at the Philadelphia Museum of Art awaits the devotional gaze, its title of suddenly modern relevance: Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata . But the ability to take in the city's cultural riches will be hindered.