Marshall Barnes' National Lab Day Projects with Light

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The Science of Invisibility


Top National Lab Day Scientist Marshall Barnes is one of the leading researchers in the world in the area of optical invisibility, having discovered a new way to show how light can be bent to render mirages of transparency and invisibility in 1994. He has since improved his methodology to the point of practical application for security, paramilitary and military purposes and so does not reveal the advanced methods to the public. What he does do is show how light can be manipulated to cause things to appear to be becoming invisible for educational purposes and is the first to do so in the world.


In Columbus, Ohio, his 1994 research and its history is in the Santa Maria Experiment Exhibit, the first and only exhibit in the world on successful optical invisibility. Housed in the Santa Maria Education Visitor's Center, it is seen by thousands of visitors every year, while they look at the world's only full scale replica of Christopher Columbus' flagship. The name of that exhibit is taken from the fact the initial 1994 experiments culminated with the successful rendering of the Santa Maria replica looking invisible  when view through modified diffraction material.


  • Light Energy
  • Canterbury, NH (100+ miles away)
  • PhysicsIn Classroom
  • I'm looking for a scientist to help us explore light- how it can be reflected, refracted, or absorbed. I don't have a lot of    materials and certainly nothing with a "WOW" factor.
Teacher Teresa Minogue of the Canterbury Elementary School in Canterbury, New hampshire, wanted someone to deliver a "Wow"
factor for her class, regarding various aspects of how light can be effected. Of course no one can deliver a "Wow" in regards to the physics of light better than Marshall Barnes. He not only secured an arrangement with Rainbow Symphony to deliver frames of diffraction film to Miss Minogue's class for them to experiment with, he also made a little video to demonstrate what could be done with the frame from the location of the Santa Maria Experiment exhibit when he learned that Miss Minogue's class wouldn't be able to do a live Skype session over the Internet with him.

You have received a message from Teacher Teresa M. about your project Light Energy:

From: Teacher Teresa Minogue

Date: 14 May 16:43

Hi Marshall,

I have the viewers you sent- pretty cool! Thank you so much for sending them!  


The National Lab Day Invisibility Events Made Possible by Rainbow Symphony

See Marshall do this live and other amazing science exhibits at the 2010 USA Science and Engineering Festival!