Liberty Science Center

Liberty Science Center is an interactive science museum and learning center located in Liberty State Park in Jersey City in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States.

The center, which first opened in 1993 as New Jersey's first major state science museum, has science exhibits, the largest and most technologically advanced planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, numerous educational resources, and the original Hoberman sphere, a silver, computer-driven engineering artwork designed by Chuck Hoberman.

Liberty Science Center
Liberty Science Center Exterior
Exterior of Liberty Science Center
Liberty Science Center is located in Hudson County, New Jersey
Liberty Science Center
Location of Liberty Science Center in New Jersey
LocationLiberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey, US
Coordinates40°42′30″N 74°03′15″W / 40.708312°N 74.054246°W
TypeScience museum
Visitors750,000 per year[1]
President & CEOPaul Hoffman
ChairpersonDavid Barry/John Weston
Public transit accessLiberty State Park station, Hudson–Bergen Light Rail
Nearest parkingOn-site (daily charge)
Hoberman Sphere at Liberty Science Center, 2015
Hoberman sphere at Liberty Science Center


Liberty Science Center completed a 22-month, $109 million expansion and renewal project on July 19, 2007.[2] The expansion added 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) to the facility, bringing it to nearly 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2).[3] However, the amount of exhibit space slightly decreased with the expansion as all the new space added is open space such as queue lines.

In December 2017, the Science Center opened the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, a 400-seat facility with a dome 100 feet (30 m) in diameter and an 89-foot (27 m) diameter screen, named for the benefactor who contributed $5 million towards the cost of construction. Larger than New York City's Hayden Planetarium, at its opening it was the largest such planetarium in the Western Hemisphere and the world's fourth largest.[4]


Climbing course at Liberty Science Center
The Infinity Climber climbing course

Liberty Science Center's permanent exhibitions include:[2]

  • Skyscraper! Achievement and Impact – The largest exhibition on the subject of skyscrapers in the world – with artifacts from the World Trade Center, a walk along an I-beam two stories above the exhibition floor, an earthquake-shake table, and a glass-Schindler 400A mid-rise traction elevator, which is open to show how the elevator moves, the machine room, and the pit.
  • Eat and Be Eaten[5] – This exhibit of unusual live animals explores the predator-prey relationship, including vipers, puffer fish, cotton-top tamarins, brilliantly colored poison dart frogs, eusocial naked mole-rats[6] and fungus culturing, leaf cutter ants.[7]
  • Communication explores human communication in four areas—body and language; symbols, signs, and writing; print, audio, and video; and signals and networks. Here guests can also do Language Karaoke, where they are taught to say phrases in Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, and Cockney.
  • Infection Connection – Helps guests understand how individual actions may affect global health issues. Guests may ride the IC Express, which shows a film about different types of infectious diseases.
  • I Explore – An age-restricted area, where guests under age six and their caregivers can explore aspects of the world around them through water play, a microscope, a Luckey Climber climbing structure, a street scape, and a rock xylophone – made from hanging rocks that ring like bells when struck.
  • Our Hudson Home – Teaches guests about the wildlife and ecology of the Hudson River. It includes an observation deck with great views of the Hudson.
  • Wonder Why – Holds many of the original exhibits from the earliest days of the museum
  • Energy Quest – Explores different energy types and the technologies to harness these.
  • Wildlife Challenge is a seasonal outdoor exhibit in which guests can take part in a variety of physical activities, designed to simulate different animals' environments. Activities include balance beams, and a zip line accessible only to guests that can hold on to a rope for at least ten seconds.
  • Rubik's Cube exhibition - Beyond Rubik's Cube opened to the public on April 26, 2014 and has toured to other museums around the world. The exhibition celebrates the Cube's 40th anniversary, and features artifacts and exhibits that trace the history of the Cube and mark the massive cultural influence it continues to have on popular culture today.[8]
Beyond Rubik's Cube VIP opening at Liberty Science Center podium photo
Liberty Science Center CEO, Paul Hoffman, speedcuber Anthony Brooks, Budapest inventor Erno Rubik, NJ Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, US Senator Robert Menendez, and Hungarian President Janos Ader at the opening of the Beyond Rubik's Cube museum exhibition, April 25, 2014
  • Travelling exhibitions – Various temporary exhibits
    • The first exhibit since the center re-opened was Islamic Science Re-Discovered.
    • Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear let guests see how they would react when they were exposed to creepy animals, loud noises, electric shock and the fear of falling. The exhibit explored why their bodies react the way they do.
    • "Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age"[9] used video installations, hands-on interactive displays, life-sized models and fossils to teach more about the extinct mammals. The exhibit showcased Lyuba, the world's best-preserved woolly mammoth specimen.[10]
    • Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition[11] featured over 100 authentic artifacts from the Titanic, which were set within replicas of cabins and other areas of the ship. The exhibit also allowed visitors to touch an "iceberg" to simulate how cold the water was when the ship sank.

Jennifer Chalsty Center for Science Learning and Teaching

In July 2007, the Jennifer Chalsty Center for Science Learning and Teaching opened. It is a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) facility extending over the entire former Invention Floor of Liberty Science Center, with six laboratories, a 150-seat theater, and other resources for teachers and students. Educators can upgrade science teaching skills and find peers to help strengthen science instruction in the classroom, while students can participate in intense, multi-day or single hour programs to ignite interest and skills in science exploration.[12]

Genius Award and Gallery

The LSC hosts an annual Gala and Genius Award as well as Genius Gallery, a permanent, interactive display.[13] The full list of awardees: 2011: Jane Goodall; 2012: Temple Grandin, Ernő Rubik, Oliver Sacks; 2013: Sir Richard Branson, Garry Kasparov, Cori Bargmann; 2014: Dean Kamen, Sylvia A. Earle, J. Craig Venter; 2015: Jeff Bezos, Vint Cerf, Jill Tarter; 2016: Frank Gehry, Jack Horner, Ellen Langer, Kip Thorne; 2017: Katherine Johnson, Ray Kurzweil, Marc Raibert (and SpotMini); 2018: Vitalik Buterin, George M. Church, Laurie Santos, Sara Seager.

Sci Tech Scity proposal

LSC is in negotiation with Jersey City to receive for a nominal fee city-owned land (a former car pound) which would be developed as an educational and residential area called Sci Tech Scity.[14][15][16] Sci Tech Scity is expected to attract top scientists and researchers from around the world, while also educating Jersey City's next generation of leaders in this field. This new project will include a biotech lab, a coding lab, a technology business incubator, and a K–12 STEM-focused public school.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Kitta MacPherson. "Innovation & Inspiration", The Star-Ledger, October 4, 2006.
  3. ^ Liberty Science Center Expansion Project Archived October 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, accessed January 30, 2007
  4. ^ Barron, James. "Planetarium Opens in New Jersey, Ushering in a New Kind of Star Wars", The New York Times, December 6, 2017. Accessed December 6, 2017. "That may or may not explain the debut of the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere and the fourth largest in the world. It opens this week in Jersey City. The top scientist responsible for it, Paul Hoffman, the president and chief executive officer of the Liberty Science Center, boasted that it was so large that the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, the starry destination for generations of middle-school field trippers, would fit inside with room to spare."
  5. ^ "LSC: Eat and be eaten". Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  6. ^ "Naked mole rat queens may control their subordinates via poop". August 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "Ants march into Liberty Science Center". September 6, 2015.
  8. ^ "Beyond Rubik's Cube". Liberty Science Center. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  9. ^ ""Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age"". Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  10. ^ Smith, Olivia (April 21, 2009). "Baby mammoth Lyuba, pristinely preserved, offers scientists rare look into mysteries of Ice Age". Daily News. New York.
  11. ^ "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition". Archived from the original on February 28, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  12. ^ , Jeffrey. "Enliven the art of teaching science", New Jersey Education Association Review, February 2006.
  13. ^ "Liberty Science Center Genius Gallery". Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  14. ^ "Critics assail Jersey City plan to give land to Liberty Science Center". March 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  15. ^ "Teachers union seeks delay on Liberty Science Center plan". March 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  16. ^ "Heated debate over $276M Liberty Science Center expansion plan". March 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.

Further reading

External links

Ann E. Weber

Ann E. Weber is the Senior Vice President for Drug Discovery at Kallyope Inc. in New York City. She previously worked with Merck Research Laboratories (MRL), joining the company in 1987 and retiring from the position of Vice President for Lead Optimization Chemistry in 2015. She has helped develop more than 40 drug candidates including FDA-approved treatments for Type 2 diabetes. She has received a number of awards, including the Perkin Medal (2017) and has been inducted into the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry’s MEDI Hall of Fame.

Anthony Michael Brooks

Anthony Michael Brooks is an American speed cubing champion. He specializes in the 2x2 cube and classic 3x3 cube, and has been officially ranked in the top five in the world in both categories as recognized by the World Cube Association. Since learning to solve the cube in March 2008, Brooks has become known for developing advanced speedsolving methods as well as frequently promoting speedcubing in the media. While working as the Liberty Science Center's Speedcuber-in-Residence, Brooks set the Guinness World Record for most Rubik's Cubes solved underwater in a single breath, and also led the team that currently holds the world record for solving the Groovik's Cube, the world's largest functioning Rubik's Cube. In July 2017, Brooks was featured on the debut season of FOX's Superhuman TV show.

Chuck Hoberman

Chuck Hoberman (born 1956 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US) is an artist, engineer, architect, and inventor of folding toys and structures, most notably the Hoberman sphere.

David Blaine

David Blaine (born David Blaine White; April 4, 1973) is an American magician, illusionist and "endurance artist." He is best known for his high-profile feats of endurance, and has set and broken several world records.

Blaine innovated the way magic is shown on television by focusing on spectator reactions. His idea was to turn the camera around on the people watching instead of the performer, to make the audience watch the audience. The New York Times noted that "he's taken a craft that's been around for hundreds of years and done something unique and fresh with it." According to the New York Daily News, "Blaine can lay claim to his own brand of wizardry. The magic he offers operates on an uncommonly personal level." Penn Jillette called Blaine’s first television special, Street Magic, "the biggest breakthrough (in television magic) done in our lifetime" for changing the perspective of television viewers toward those seeing the trick live.

Ernő Rubik

Ernő Rubik (Hungarian: [ˈrubik ˈɛrnøː]; born 13 July 1944) is a Hungarian inventor, architect and professor of architecture. He is best known for the invention of mechanical puzzles including Rubik's Cube (1974), Rubik's Magic, Rubik's Magic: Master Edition, and Rubik's Snake.While Rubik became famous for inventing the Rubik's Cube and his other puzzles, much of his recent work involves the promotion of science in education. Rubik is involved with several organizations such as Beyond Rubik's Cube, the Rubik Learning Initiative and the Judit Polgar Foundation all of whose aim is to engage students in science, mathematics, and problem solving at a young age.

Goa trance

Goa trance is an electronic music style that originated during the late 1980s in Goa, India. Goa trance often has funky, drone-like basslines, similar to the techno minimalism of 21st century psytrance.

Hoberman sphere

A Hoberman sphere is an isokinetic structure patented by Chuck Hoberman that resembles a geodesic dome, but is capable of folding down to a fraction of its normal size by the scissor-like action of its joints. Colorful plastic versions have become popular as children's toys: several toy sizes exist, with the original design capable of expanding from 15 centimetres (5.9 in) in diameter to 76 centimetres (30 in).A Hoberman sphere typically consists of six great circles corresponding to the edges of an icosidodecahedron. The Hoberman sphere can be unfolded by allowing certain members to spread apart. The operation of each joint is linked to all the others in a scissors mechanism like those used to mount pantograph mirrors, or how a folding chair operates. In larger models, this can be accomplished by feeding out a string or cable instead.

The largest existing Hoberman sphere is in the AHHAA Science Center in Tartu, Estonia. Fully expanded, it is 5.9 metres (19 ft) in diameter. The motorized sphere weighs 340 kilograms (750 lb), is constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum, and continually oscillates between its compact and expanded states. The sphere is suspended above the Center's Science Court and is actuated with a computer-based motion control system. This system opens and closes the sphere in a programmed series of lyrical motions choreographed to music, lighting and special effects.An earlier, similar but slightly smaller Hoberman sphere is in the atrium of Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey. The 700-pound (320 kg) sphere, when fully expanded, measures 18 feet (5.5 m) in diameter.In 1993 a second geodesic sphere was installed at the Swiss Science Center Technorama in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Jim Courter

James Andrew Courter (born October 14, 1941) is an American Republican Party politician, lawyer and businessman. He is a resident of Hackettstown, New Jersey.

Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park is a park in the U.S. state of New Jersey, located on Upper New York Bay in Jersey City, opposite both Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The park opened in 1976 to coincide with bicentennial celebrations and is operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry. Liberty State Park covers 1,212 acres (490 ha). The main part of the park is bordered by water on three sides: on the north by the Morris Canal Big Basin and on the south and east by Upper New York Bay. The New Jersey Turnpike Newark Bay Extension (I-78) marks its western perimeter.

Liberty State Park station

Liberty State Park is a station on the Hudson–Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) located between Communipaw and Johnston Avenues in Jersey City, New Jersey. The station opened on April 15, 2000. There are two tracks and two side platforms.

Northbound service from the station is available to Hoboken Terminal and Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen. Southbound service is available to terminals at West Side Avenue in Jersey City or 8th Street in Bayonne. 1248 park and ride spaces are also available one block from the station at the Liberty Science Center. A HBLR yard is located west of the line, south of this station. South of here, the line is in a railroad easement, and speeds are higher than in the parts where it is a streetcar line. New Jersey Transit has been considering a spur from the station to the old Central Railroad of New Jersey Communipaw Terminal within Liberty State Park since at least 2010.


Lysol ( LY-sol) is a brand name of cleaning and disinfecting products distributed by the Reckitt Benckiser company. The line includes liquid solutions for hard and soft surfaces, air treatment, and hand washing. The active ingredient in many Lysol products is benzalkonium chloride, but the active ingredient in the Lysol "Power and Free" line is hydrogen peroxide. Some of the scents from Lysol include "Crisp Linen", "Floral", "Fruit & Citrus", "Gourmand", and "Fresh". It is marketed as Lizol in India.

Maria Snyder

Maria Snyder is an artist, designer, model, activist and entrepreneur. Snyder's artistic background began in her youth as a painter and sculptor. She is the daughter of industrialist real estate developer, Arthur T. Snyder, who was an early pioneer in the revitalization of Portland, Maine. Snyder attended school in Athens, Greece, studied at the American University in Paris and received a master's degree in 20th Century Art History.

Najlah Feanny

'Najlah Feanny (1961), or Najlah Feanny Hicks (born in Kingston, Jamaica) is an American photojournalist and former Newsweek Magazine contributor. Feanny covered politics, the American landscape, breaking news, feature stories, as well as documented stories in dozens of countries around the world. Feanny's images are represented by Corbis Images. She has set up projects and organizations to help vulnerable young people: the Heart Gallery of New Jersey, Do1Thing, and Design for Social GOOD.

Paul Hoffman (science writer)

Paul Hoffman (born March 30, 1956) is the president and CEO of the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is also a prominent author, science educator, food entrepreneur, and host of the PBS television series Great Minds of Science. He was president and editor in chief of Discover, in a ten-year tenure with that magazine, and served as president and publisher of Encyclopædia Britannica before returning full-time to writing and consulting work. He lives in Brooklyn and Woodstock, New York. Author of at least ten books, he has appeared on CBS This Morning and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer as a correspondent. Hoffman is also a puzzlemaster using the pseudonym Dr. Crypton. He designed the puzzle in the 1984 book Treasure: In Search of the Golden Horse. He also designed the treasure map in the 1984 film, Romancing the Stone, starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito. Paul is a chess player rated around 1900 (or class-A level) who was the last man standing when world champion Magnus Carlsen played blindfold blitz chess against three challengers.Hoffman, who holds a B.A. degree summa cum laude from Harvard, is the winner of the first National Magazine Award for Feature Writing and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Chicago magazine once called him "the smartest man in the world," but Hoffman claims the editors must have caught him on a particularly good day. The New York Times called Hoffman "the mayor of strange places" because of his penchant for checking in at out-of-the-way places on Foursquare. Paul's most celebrated book, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers, was featured in clue 104 Down in the Sunday Times crossword puzzle for 11/15/2015.

Before joining Liberty Science Center in October 2011, Hoffman was the editorial chairman of the video interview website Big Think, where he personally interviewed Dick Cavett, Richard Dawkins, Annie Duke, Arianna Huffington, John Irving, Penn Jillette, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov and Ed Koch, among others.

Hoffman is the creative director of the Beyond Rubik's Cube exhibition, which is appearing at venues around the world starting with LSC in Jersey City, NJ, the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, and Telus World of Science in Edmonton, Canada. Exhibition elements include a 35-foot-tall rooftop cube made of lights that people can manipulate with their cellphones, a $2.5 million cube made of diamonds, a giant cube displaying the inner workings of the puzzle, and cube-solving robots. Google is LSC's creative partner in the creation of the 7,000-square-foot exhibition.


A planetarium (plural planetaria or planetariums) is a theatre built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky, or for training in celestial navigation.A dominant feature of most planetaria is the large dome-shaped projection screen onto which scenes of stars, planets, and other celestial objects can be made to appear and move realistically to simulate the complex 'motions of the heavens'. The celestial scenes can be created using a wide variety of technologies, for example precision-engineered 'star balls' that combine optical and electro-mechanical technology, slide projector, video and fulldome projector systems, and lasers. Whatever technologies are used, the objective is normally to link them together to simulate an accurate relative motion of the sky. Typical systems can be set to simulate the sky at any point in time, past or present, and often to depict the night sky as it would appear from any point of latitude on Earth.

Planetariums range in size from the 37 meter dome in St. Petersburg, Russia (called “Planetarium No 1”) to three-meter inflatable portable domes where attendees sit on the floor. The largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere is the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium at Liberty Science Center in New Jersey (27 meters in diameter). The China Science and Technology Museum Planetarium in Beijing, China has the largest seating capacity worldwide (442 seats). In North America, the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City has the greatest number of seats (423).

The term planetarium is sometimes used generically to describe other devices which illustrate the solar system, such as a computer simulation or an orrery. Planetarium software refers to a software application that renders a three-dimensional image of the sky onto a two-dimensional computer screen. The term planetarian is used to describe a member of the professional staff of a planetarium.

Research and Development Council of New Jersey

The Research & Development Council of New Jersey is a nonprofit organization which advocates for progress in various research and development sectors in the state of New Jersey. Its membership includes representatives from academia, industry, and government. Members of the Council are offered services such as policy analysis and recent news in the fields of science research. The Research & Development Council of New Jersey was the principal fundraiser for the construction of the Liberty Science Center, and it also funds a dozen scholarships for New Jersey students yearly. The organization was established in 1962 and is based in Newark.

Return to the Source

Return to the Source (RTTS) was a London-based Goa Trance club and offshoot record label run by partners Chris Decker, Mark Allen, Janice Duncan and Phil Ross. Along with the recurring Escape from Samsara party, which also had a monthly Friday night slot at The Fridge in the mid-90's, it was an early mainstay of Trance in its underground days and through its breakout in the late 1990s. According to Allmusic, its "compilation series of the best trance music on the scene...brought Goa trance to the mainstream hordes".On Fri 1 August 2014, the four partners got together for a 21st Anniversary Reunion Party at Electric, Brixton (formerly The Fridge) with many of the artists who played at the early parties and appeared on albums including Tsuyoshi Suzuki, Mark Allen, Man With No Name (Martin Freeland), Dr Alex Paterson (The Orb), Mixmaster Morris.

The beginning of the club was documented by music journalist Ian Gittins in the book that accompanied the first Return to the Source compilation 'Deep Trance and Ritual Beats' (1995). At page 8, Gittins writes:

Chris Deckker organised a party in Amsterdam on New Year's Eve 1992, which he called Return to the Source. Chris was a traveller, voyaging with Leyolah Antara from their native Australia where they'd spent time investigating shamen and the power of ritual. They would invite visiting shamen to lead rituals, which would culminate in trance-dance abandon. They moved to Amsterdam and started techno group, Sushumna. "Sushumna is a Sanskrit word which means the merging of dualities," explains Chris.The Deckkers soon moved to London, drawn by its techno scene, and events quickened apace. A friend of Chris and Antara's, Sara Sol, was languishing in jail in India, and the couple wanted to hold a party to raise money for her. George Saunders, best known as musician Solar Quest and a cool underground networker introduced Chris to Phil Ross and Janice Duncan, promoters at North London's Dome venue, who agreed to stage the event. The Free Sol party was a success, and Chris, Phil, Janice and DJ Mark Allen decided to run a regular club, called Return to the Source.Other like minded souls became involved. All were travellers, most had experienced the life-affirming qualities of Goa. DJs Mark Allen and Tsuyoshi Suzuki had been transformed by Goa. Jules and Jason, old college friends from Brighton had met by chance in Goa and decided to become painters/artists. All were linked into the New Age/Goa network and craving an outlet for their creative energies. All will tell you their story later in their own words.

This emphasis on spirituality and ritual was carried on at the RTTS events, which were opened with a ceremony involving tribal instruments brought along by club-goers (who were offered a discounted entry fee for doing so).The Source (as it became known) flourished alongside the musical genre of Goa Trance and its successor Psychedelic Trance running monthly club nights or 'parties' at The Rocket in North London's Holloway Road, Brixton's Fridge, Bagley's in Kings Cross and a number of larger events at Brixton Academy...the last one of which was in 2002.

The Source produced 18 compilation albums of upbeat Trance and more downtempo Ambient music, as well as the 'Deck Wizards' series of DJ mix compilation CDs from Source residents and regular's including Mark Allen, Tsuyoshi Suzuki, Chris 'Chrisbo' Smith. A series of chilled albums entitled Ambient Meditations included mixes from Mark Allen, Dr Alex Paterson (The Orb), Youth (Martin Glover) and Mixmaster Morris.

"In September 1996, the promoter John Emmanuel Gartmann held America's first psychedelic trance rave Return to the Source -- a now legendary party at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City," wrote Simon Reynolds in The New York Times.

State microbe

A state microbe is a microorganism used as an official state symbol. Several U.S. states have honored microorganisms by nominating them to become official state symbols. The first state to declare an Official State Microbe is Oregon which chose Saccharomyces cerevisiae (brewer's or baker's yeast) as the Official Microbe of the State of Oregon in 2013 for its significance to the craft beer industry in Oregon. One of the first proponents of State Microbes was microbiologist Moselio Schaechter, who, in 2010, commented on Official Microbes for the American Society for Microbiology's blog "Small Things Considered" as well as on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered".

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