Particle Falls Premiere

Particle Falls

Photo ©2013 Greg Benson.

Date: September 26, 2013
Time: 7:30 p.m.

Wilma Theater lobby
265 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Event Type: Open to the Public
Fee: Free
RSVP Online: Online registration is now closed.

Be there when the lights go on! Particle Falls, a digital-media installation that offers real-time visualization of air-quality data, will be projected onto the Wilma Theater facade starting on September 26, 2013.

Join us for a reception and panel discussion on the intersection between art, science, and digital media. How can art help the public better understand science? How can artistic visualization help scientists communicate their work?

The panel discussion will include Particle Falls artist Andrea Polli, Drexel University’s Youngmoo Kim, and Jody A. Roberts, director of CHF’s Center for Contemporary History and Policy. Christy Schneider, CHF’s coordinator of exhibitions, will moderate.


7:30 p.m. Reception

8:00 p.m. Program begins

9:00 p.m. Event concludes

About Particle Falls

Particle Falls is a real-time visualization of air-quality data. On a background of falling blue light, spots of bright, fiery color emerge and crackle, representing the presence of fine particulate matter, as detected by a nearby air monitor. Fewer bright spots over the falls mean fewer particles in the air. This installation, originally shown in San Jose, California, in 2010, will be projected onto the Wilma Theater facade, at Broad and Spruce streets in Philadelphia, from September 26, 2013, to December 1, 2013.

About the panelists

Andrea Polli

Andrea Polli is a digital-media artist whose work merges art, science, and technology to address how natural and man-made systems are connected. Since 1999 Polli has focused on environmental-science issues in her work and has collaborated extensively with atmospheric scientists. Most recently Polli worked with scientists to develop systems for understanding climate through sound using sonification, a process by which data is translated into sound. 

Youngmoo Kim

Youngmoo Kim is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and assistant dean of engineering for media technologies at Drexel University. He is also director of Drexel's ExCITe Center. His research group, the Music and Entertainment Technology Laboratory (MET-lab) focuses on the machine understanding of audio, particularly for music-information retrieval. Other areas of active research at MET-lab include human-machine interfaces and robotics for expressive interaction, analysis-synthesis of sound, and K-12 outreach for engineering, science, and mathematics education.

Jody A. Roberts

Jody A. Roberts’s work explores the intersections of emerging molecular sciences and public policy and the ways in which tensions brought about between the two get resolved. He received advanced degrees in science and technology studies from Virginia Tech. Before joining the CHF staff, he was the Charles C. Price Fellow and Gordon Cain Fellow at CHF. Roberts is a research professor in the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Drexel University and a lecturer in the History and Sociology of Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves as a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program, a national program training the next generation of environmental leaders. Roberts holds an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Saint Vincent College.

About the Sensing Change exhibit

Particle Falls is presented in conjunction with CHF’s Sensing Change exhibit, on display in CHF’s Clifford C. Hach Gallery at 315 Chestnut Street through May 2, 2014. The exhibit features the work of Vaughn BellDiane BurkoRoderick CooverKatie HoltenStacy LevyEve MosherFernanda Viégas, and Martin Wattenberg.

More information

For more information please contact Gigi Naglak, CHF’s manager of museum programs, at 215.873.8258 or


CHF gratefully acknowledges project support from the Daniel Dietrich Foundation, the Public Health Fund, and U.S. Trust.

CHF also recognizes the following for their efforts to help make Particle Falls possible: Air Management Services; Applied Video Technology; Avenue of the Arts; Post Brothers; the Wilma Theater; the City of Philadelphia: Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy; PhillyRising Collaborative/Managing Director’s Office; and Streets Department.

Register for an event link

Need Meeting Space?

CHF’s state-of-the-art conference center is in Philadelphia’s beautiful historic district.

Support CHF

Help us preserve and share the history of chemistry and related sciences. Make a tax-deductible tax-deductible gift online.