Motorsports program to co-sponsor exhibit at Indiana State Museum

September 24 2007

Visitors to the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis will get a chance to explore the world of “SPEED” Oct. 13 through Jan. 21, an exhibit co-sponsored by Indiana State University’s motorsports studies program.

Packed with hands-on components, interactive media and graphics inspired by Japanese anime, “SPEED” draws inspiration from the worlds of sports, entertainment and cutting-edge research. It’s packed with amazing true stories of people who have dared to test the limits of speed; visitors will find out why the shape of a race car • or any vehicle • matters. They will also learn who is known as the fastest human and follow a U.S. parachuting champion’s plans to break the speed of sound during a free-fall from 24 miles above the Earth.

“Indiana State University’s motorsports studies program is excited to be involved with this impressive exhibit,” said Guy Faulkner, director of the motorsports initiative at ISU. “Indianapolis is the undisputed racing capital of America. During the coming months, thousands of people will view the “SPEED” exhibit. Via this sponsorship, they will get a small glimpse of what Indiana State is doing to help serve an industry that is of growing importance to the state’s economy.”

This real-world adventure in math and physics packs 21 hands-on activities into five areas that test concepts such as acceleration, horsepower and friction:

• Drag! • A body in motion tends to stay in motion, so why do things slow down' Visitors can find out by trying to move a vehicle across a slippery surface in the shortest amount of time or use a “turbulence tank” to see how different shapes move through air.
• Zoom! • Just how quickly do sound waves move, and what exactly is a sonic boom' “SPEED” challenges visitors to find out by using mirrors, a 564-foot-long tube, flashing green lights and other hands-on components to discover some of the strange things that happen at extremely high speeds.
• Stop! • Inserting a penny into a stream of high-velocity air then watching it smash against a wall shows graphically why the most dangerous speed of all is 0 mph. Here, visitors may also examine video footage of crashes to figure out where things went wrong and hear race car drivers talk about how it feels to hit a wall.
• Push! • This section explores the sources of speed. Visitors will find out how snow skiers accelerate to amazing speeds with the help of gravity. Building a roller coaster reveals the relationship between height, acceleration and velocity, and pedaling a stationary bicycle lets visitors measure their own ability to produce horsepower.
• Go! • This section delves into the mathematical principles that govern motion, and some physical features that increase or retard speed. Activities include tracing the evolution of Indy car designs, then building a racer out of LEGO® parts and testing its performance against others. Or, visitors can try to create the fastest vehicle ever by using a computer to design a completely new machine from various engines, wheels and body types.

Fascinating discoveries about the speed of thought, the speed of light, and of course, the record-breaking speeds of athletes and automobiles are waiting at the exhibit “SPEED” at the Indiana State Museum.

“SPEED” was created by COSI Columbus with support from the National Science Foundation and in cooperation with the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative. In addition to the motorsports studies program at ISU, contributing support for “SPEED” is provided by FedEx and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with additional support from Jasper Engines & Transmissions.

“SPEED” is free for Indiana State Museum members and is included in regular museum admission: $7 for adults, $6.50 for seniors and $4 for children ages 3 • 12. Prescheduled schools and groups of 20 or more are eligible for discounted rates. The museum is at 650 W. Washington Street in Indianapolis’ White River State Park.

For more information about “SPEED” or any related events at the museum, visit or call (317)232-1637. For more information about Indiana State University’s motorsports studies program, visit or call (812) 237-2000 or 1-800-742-0891.

Media Contacts:
Emily Rawlinson, Indiana State Museum, (317) 232-8272, or
Dave Taylor, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or

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Story Highlights

Indiana State University's motorsports studies program will sponsor "SPEED," an exhibit packed with hands-on components, interactive media and graphics inspired by Japanese anime, at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis Oct. 13 through Jan. 21.

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