Students Lauren Van Beek (mechanical engineering), left, and Rachel Gehlhar (mechanical engineering) right, scoop dipping dots out of liquid nitrogen at the Playful Learning Lab Expo in the Facilities and Design Center on south campus in St. Paul on September 8, 2015. The event, organized by the School of Engineering and Professor AnnMarie Thomas included several stations with on-demand engineering demonstrations.

'Designed to Last' Exhibition Opens in the School of Engineering


Core samples from the site of the 10,000 Year Clock project displayed on a custom stand designed and built by artist Asa Hillis. (Photo by Kristian Olson)

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, as the campus prepared for the start of classes, students from the St. Thomas Playful Learning Lab busily prepared for the opening of a new exhibition on campus, "Designed to Last: A Look at Projects of the Long Now Foundation" The exhibit is an interactive, interdisciplinary space that explores technology and culture.

To celebrate the opening, guests were treated to exhibition-inspired food prepared by chefs Eric Rivera and Kate Sigel (who are collaborators of the Playful Learning Lab) and served on plates designed by undergraduate lab members. Engineering, art history and education students from the lab pitched in with the cooking, learning techniques such as sous vide (French for “under vacuum”) and liquid nitrogen.

The exhibition includes a Rosetta Disk, donated to St. Thomas, which has text in 1,500 languages micro-etched into it, and components of the 10,000 Year Clock.

This exhibition is also home to the "UST Library for Civilization," a collection of books suggested by St. Thomas faculty and staff. Faculty and staff may still suggest a book. Suggested books will be purchased, given a bookmark with the name of the faculty or staff member who suggested it and why they suggested it, and put on display. At the end of the semester, St. Thomas students will be invited to take a book of their choice.

The exhibition is open through the end of the fall semester and can be found on the third floor of the Facilities and Design Center building. To arrange a visit for classes, groups or individuals, please contact Dr. AnnMarie Thomas.