MIT Museum Hosts 18th Annual Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction Event on Friday November 27th

October 20, 2015

MIT Museum Hosts 18th Annual Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction Event on Friday November 27th

Watch last year's chain reaction!

Cambridge, MA, October 20, 2015—The MIT Museum will host its 18th annual Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction Event on November 27 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. in MIT's Rockwell Cage Gymnasium at 120 Vassar Street in Cambridge, MA.

The theme for all participants is The 18th Century! With the Age of Enlightenment serving as inspiration, teams will harken back to that era when the move toward science and rational thought began in Western Europe, and when people like Benjamin Franklin and Marie-Sophie Germain began working on inventions and ideas that would change the world. Organizers of this "only at MIT" event hope to encourage everyone to open their history books (or crack a wiki page) as they get ready to imagine their link for this fun family event.

Kinetic artists Arthur Ganson and Jeff Lieberman will mastermind the choreography of this Rube Goldberg machine, assisted by teams and participants who range from families, friends, school groups, artists, inventors and engineers. Over 20 teams from all over the country participate in this one-of-a-kind engineering feat that is as fun for the audience, as it is for those who have been tinkering away with their link.

Throughout the early afternoon, teams put the finishing touches on their contraptions while side activities engage children and their parents. Spectators can meet the teams, ask them questions, and enjoy 18th century styled hands-on activities. At 3:30 p.m., the magic moment when all the machines are linked together, the chain reaction will be set off with a special surprise ending executed by Ganson and Leiberman.

"Building a link and being part of a giant chain reaction allows people to explore their own creativity and see how their unique contraptions relate to a larger whole," said Brindha Muniappan, MIT Museum Programs Director. "No matter how complex the devices, by 3:30 p.m. on the day after Thanksgiving they all work together beautifully and hundreds of people enthusiastically cheer them on," said Muniappan. "For those looking for something to do as a group activity, attending this event and visiting the MIT Museum makes for a perfect day."

Participants must register to build their mini-link in the chain reaction no later than November 13th to be guaranteed a space. The fee for a pre-registered team of up to four members is $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Additional team members are $5 per person, up to a maximum of eight members. Learn more information on registration and contraption guidelines online.

Regular admission at the door for spectators is $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-17, students (with ID), seniors, and MIT ID-holders. Children under 5 years old are free. Admission to FAT also includes a free same-day admission to the MIT Museum and store, which will remain open until 6:00 p.m. Parking available at West Garage (125 Vassar Street) for $5.

Don't forget to follow what's going on at the Museum on Twitter (#MITFAT) or Instagram.

Visitor Information

  • Open Daily 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. | July and August until 6:00 p.m. | Closed major holidays
  • Adults: $10.00; youth under 18, students, seniors: $5:00;
  • Free admission for MIT card-holders, alumni
  • Free in July & August only, for Cambridge Public Library card holders
  • Located in the Central Square Cultural District

Media Contact: 
Josephine Patterson
josiep@mit.edu | 617-253-4422