MIT Museum Hosts 19 th (XIX) Annual Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction Event on Friday November 25 th

September 27, 2016

CAMBRIDGE, MA – The MIT Museum will host its 19 th (XIX) annual Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction Event on November 25 th from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. in MIT’s Rockwell Cage Gymnasium at 120 Vassar Street in Cambridge, MA.

This is year 19 (XIX) for F.A.T and the theme for this year’s event is “symmetry”. All builders are expected to incorporate some kind of symmetrical or mirrored movement as they build their link for this year’s giant chain reaction. Kinetic artists Arthur Ganson and Jeff Lieberman will mastermind the choreography of this Rube Goldberg machine, assisted by teams who range from families, friends, school groups, artists, 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 links.

Throughout the early afternoon, teams put the finishing touches on their contraptions while symmetry-themed side activities engage children and their parents. Spectators can meet the teams, ask questions, and enjoy the 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.

“Building a link for the 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 activation time they are ready to go and everyone, including the hundreds of spectators, enthusiastically cheer them on,” said Muniappan. “For anyone looking for a unique activity to do the day after Thanksgiving, attending this event and visiting the MIT Museum makes for a perfect day.”

Participants must register to build their contraption for the chain reaction no later than November 11 th 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. Registration and contraption guidelines available online.

Regular admission at the door for spectators is $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-17, students (with ID), seniors, military personnel, and MIT ID-holders. Children under 5 years old are free. Admission to F.A.T. 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 (payment by credit card only).

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

Construction help and Community Build Sessions:

Want help designing your contraption for the 19th Annual Friday After Thanksgiving Chain Reaction? Have an idea but not sure how to get started? Already started but want feedback on your designs? We are having three (3) contraption construction sessions! Building programs will be held on Saturdays from 2 - 4 p.m.

  • Saturday, October 15, 2-4 p.m. 
  • Saturday, October 29, 2-4 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 12, 2-4 p.m. 

The MIT Museum’s mission is to engage the wider community with MIT’s science, technology and other areas of scholarship in ways that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21 st century.

Visitor Information

MIT Museum
265 Massachusetts Avenue
Central Square Cultural District
Cambridge, MA 02139 USA
P: 617-253-5927

Open Daily 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Closed major holidays
General admission: $10.00 for adults; Youth under 18, students, seniors: $5.00; free admission for MIT card holders and alumni, and children under 5. Discounts are listed online.
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Public Transportation: Red Line “T” to Central or Kendall Square or take the #1 Bus on Massachusetts