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News Release 05-019

Presenting the Molecularium

A new show from the Rensselaer nanotech center lets kids explore the world of atoms and molecules

Oxy, Hydro, and Hydra.

Oxy, Hydro, and Hydra as a water molecule.

February 9, 2005

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Traditional planetarium shows take us on a virtual tour of stars, planets and galaxies: the outer universe. But recently, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute premiered its new Molecularium show, a state-of-the-art, computer-generated animation that takes its viewers on a virtual tour of the inner universe—the atoms and molecules that constitute our world.

Developed for children in grades K-3, and designed for a planetarium setting, the 20-minute show follows Oxy, Hydro, Hydra and Carbón—a cast of characters based on atoms—as they explore this inner universe. Their atomic-scale views of phenomena such as the melting of ice are based on real molecular dynamics calculations.

The Molecularium project, which was developed under a special grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), is part of the educational and outreach program of Rensselaer’s NSF-funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures.


Media Contacts
Mary Cimo, RPI, (518) 276-6098, email:
M. Mitchell Waldrop, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

Program Contacts
David L. Nelson, NSF, (703) 292-4932, email:

Principal Investigators
Shekhar Garde, RPI, (518) 276-6048, email:
Linda Schadler, RPI, (518) 276-2022, email:
Richard W. Siegel, RPI, (518) 276-8846, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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