• Hundreds attended the 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum. See the slideshow below for additional photos.

    Hundreds attended the 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum. See the slideshow below for additional photos.

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

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Prime-time chain reaction

With a theme of prime numbers, this year's Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction was one of the most creative ever.


The MIT Museum hosted its 17th annual Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction event at MIT’s Rockwell Cage Gymnasium to the delight of many families, students, and photographers.

The theme of the afternoon was "Prime Number Challenge." Hundreds of spectators watched, played "prime-time" prime-number hopscotch, and built cup towers as kinetic sculptor Arthur Ganson and MIT alumnus Jeff Lieberman '00 spoke with the teams and helped them link their creations.

From candy-filled balloons to robots to contraptions that took this year's prime-number theme most seriously with rhymes, this “only at MIT” chain reaction was one of the most creative ever. Teams from around New England brought in their own personally-crafted links, which were then connected with other links to become one giant contraption — all of which culminated in a special message from the hosts.

Engineering principles, laws about motion and energy, and all manners of science — including the natural world — popped up during the this annual tradition inspired by the creations of sculptor, author, and engineer Rube Goldberg. Students were encouraged to explain their contraptions before the final running, when all in attendance marveled at the continuity of motion created by their individual unit projects.

For a taste of this year's F.A.T. Chain Reaction, take a look at the slide show below, featuring photographs of team projects before and during the final run, and this video of the proceedings.

  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen
  • 2014 F.A.T. Chain Reaction hosted by the MIT Museum

    Photo: Samara Vise/MIT Museum

    Full Screen

Topics: MIT Museum, Special events and guest speakers, Community, STEM education

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