The Museum’s rock and mineral collection numbers over 1300 specimens, but did you know that about 15% of minerals have fluorescence, i.e. the ability to glow? In a fascinating exhibit that debuted just this year, these “plain old rocks” come to brilliant life when ultraviolet rays from a blacklight react with their electrons which jump to a higher energy state. Fluorescent light, in many different hues, is emitted when those electrons drop down to a lower energy state. Minerals such as calcite, fluorite, and willemite transform into amazing colors when the UV lighting is turned on. This special display is kept in a closet, so be sure and ask museum staff to show it to you!
Location: W1, Mineral Gallery 1, Closet (ask docent to activate light display)