Molecules interacting in our body not only make energy for food, build new cells, and enable you to move, but this interaction also produces heat. As molecular bonds are made and broken in chemical reactions, some energy is lost as heat. Visitors stand in front of a wall and observe themselves as an infrared camera senses their body heat and displays the images on a computer screen in front of them. Places look hotter often because of blood flowing closer to the surface of our body.
What would most people choose to eat in order to get their protein — hamburger or a pile of dung? Visitors view examples of things some animals eat to obtain energy to live. Molecules contain energy, and when molecules are consumed, living things can get energy. Different molecules contain different amounts of energy because of the way the atoms are bonded together. There are three classes of molecules that animals get most of their energy from: carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Visitors are challenged to name the molecules that people, birds, bats, beetles, and grasshoppers get energy from in their foods. Flip panels reveal that all the foods contain the same fat, protein and carbohydrate molecules.
A large a self-contained sealed biosphere with shrimp, snails and algae are on display. The only thing that enters this biosphere is light and the only thing that leaves is heat. Inside the sphere, molecules — including carbon dioxide, water, oxygen, and carbohydrates — recycle between the air, water, plants, animals, and microorganisms. Waste from one organism contain molecules that are beneficial for another organism. When an organism eats molecules it might break them down for energy or build them into a new structure. Molecules contain energy in their bonds, by breaking down molecules, an organism can get energy from it. When molecules are passed from organism to organism, although the atoms never change, the composition of the molecules do. This exhibit is a living system that relies on recycling on a micro level.