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MIT Museum connects with kinetic sculptor to create giant chain reaction

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- MIT artist-in-residence Arthur Ganson, a renowned kinetic sculptor, joins a corps of MIT engineering students today to help hundreds of visitors to the MIT Museum create a giant chain reaction that will snake its way through the museum between 3-5pm.

Participants were invited to deliver individual mechanical chain reactions to the museum at 265 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, starting at 10am. The event, which attracted about 700 participants a year ago, is part of the MIT Museum's second annual Friday After Thanksgiving (FAT) Program.

The following instructions and guidelines were established for participants:

"Imagine a ball rolling down a pipe, landing on a board, which falls onto a string, which pulls six precariously balanced blocks, which fall into a pan causing it to get heavy enough to... That's the idea! A chain reaction can be as simple as books falling against one another or as complicated as a Rube Goldberg invention.

"Each group's link in the chain reaction should be 2-ft. wide or less, no taller than the tallest person in the group, and no longer than 6 ft. It should use no chemicals (baking soda and vinegar are acceptable), no plug-in electricity (batteries and low-power DC are okay), nor require more than a cup of water.

"Group links must begin and end by a string pull. It must take no more force than the hanging weight of a golf ball to start the link, and must end by pulling a string with enough force to lift a golf ball. The link must be repeatable; resetting the link is acceptable. Groups should test their chain reactions before bringing them to the museum.

"Group chain reactions could be funny, playful, clever, whimsical, or elegant but should be symbolic of the group or department, and should last between 30 seconds and five minutes."

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