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National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan*
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Silicon World
Rock Crystal & Glass Beads
The 1st Exhibition Gallery, Global Environment Hall
May 16 – December 16, 2018

Silicon World

Feel it up, feel it down. Silicon is all around.

Silicon (Si), a nonmetallic chemical element in the carbon family, is the seventh most abundant element in the universe, coming after hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and neon. It is mostly found in rocks, sand, clays, and soils, combined either with oxygen as silica (SiO2, silicon dioxide) or with oxygen and other elements as silicates. Silicon is the source of both crystal and glass, which are deeply loved due to their brightness and beauty as well as the basis of moving stories from traditional cultures. Crystal and glass are often confused for each other because of their similar nature and uses. In common, both of them have significance for cultures from ancient times to present days.

In an effort to popularize science amongst the common people, especially students, the National Museum of Natural Science hosts an exhibition of rock crystal and glass beads from May 16 through December 16, 2012 at the Museum’s 1st Exhibition Gallery.

Silicon WorldStarting with basic information of silicon, the intimate ‘Silicon World: Rock Crystal & Glass Beads’ exhibition reveals scientific, cultural and artistic interpretation of natural crystals and glass beads. This exhibition uses seven themes to investigate where silicon is found in natural world, why quartz has been the most commonly used minerals in the making of jewelry, what the difference between crystal and glass is, when people began to use glass beads in divination rites, and how crystal and glass rise and shine in the contemporary industry ...etc. Explore the seven themes below: Origins of Silicon, Natural Occurrence of Quartz, The Quartz Family, Applications of Quartz, Legends of Glass Beads, Traditional Applications of Glass Beads in Taiwan, and Artisanal Crafts of Crystal and Glass. In addition to offering informative knowledge about silicon such as its history, characteristics, compounds, occurrence, production, applications, and its contemporary role, the exhibition highlights over 400 objects spanning from antiquity to the present, including Chinese ancient Warring States beads of the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100BC-771BC), golden glass beads used by Taiwanese tribes in practicing witchery and divination, Silicon WorldSilicon Worldrare and precious orange crystals from Russia, an agate wall, and a giant heart-shaped amethyst geode with 195cm in width, 193cm in height, and 1598kg in weight. Also, the exhibition displays many spectacular specimens of minerals, ores, gemstones, and rocks collected from domestic and foreign museums, and private collectors as well. ‘Silicon World’ ends with an incredible array of elegant ornaments of crystal and cut glass, which will make you say WOW!

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Silicon World“Our visitors who imagine the silicon world as stark and colorless will be shocked and startled to see silica artworks in such bright and vivid colors,” said Museum Director Sun Wei-hsin at the exhibition reception. “Art has entwined science and culture for centuries. ‘Silicon World’ explains how science, art, and culture influence on another when they commingle.”

Silicon World“We are excited to host ‘Silicon World’ at the Museum,” said Exhibition Curator Ho Gung-suan, a geologist and Chairman of the Museum's Exhibit Department. “The oxidized form of silicon, which is a very important component of Earth’s mantle, is a common fundamental constituent of crystal and glass. ‘Silicon World’ explores the complex, alluring phenomenon of silica, and how it has captivated artists, designers, and scientists,” he explained. “We arranged the seven themes of the exhibition in a logical and systematic way, allowing our visitors to have a quicker and deeper understanding about this aesthetically and scientifically valuable chemical element. Step by step.” added Ho.

Through this prestigious exhibition, you will discover the fascinating and colorful world of silicon. This is a unique opportunity to see so many admirable artworks of Nature all under one roof. Don’t miss it.

  • Admission to Silicon World is included in Museum gallery ticket.
  • Guided tours: 11:00AM & 2:00PM

Silicon World: Rock Crystal & Glass Beads is organized and presented by the National Museum of Natural Science, and is made possible with support from Institute of History and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, National Taiwan Museum, National Museum of Prehistory, Cultural Affairs Bureau, Yilan County. We also like to send special thanks to Tip Top Gold & Jewelry CORP., Chin Pin Fong Jewelry Design Co., and Dragonfly Beads Art Studio.