OOS Sculpture

Michelson-Morley Memorial Fountain

Date Unknown / William Behnke / Cleveland

MichaelsonMorley2017a.jpg

A massive, chrome-plated, steel cylinder that shoots 25 feet straight up. It is abruptly cut off at a 45 degree angle, leaving a sharp edge that gives the viewer a look at the pitch black inside of the hollow cylinder. The entire structure rises out of a 15 foot, circular pool that is filled with teal-tinged water. The water spills down the cobblestone slopes, over the identifying placard, and into a 25 foot circular drain that surrounds the entire fountain.

The uneven edge of the cylinder seems to be pulling the structure up and away. This illusion is helped by the fact that the structure is suspended just above the water line, like a rocket just as it's taking off.

The fountain was installed to commemorate work done by Case Western Reserve University researchers Albert Michelson and Edward Morley. The 1887 experiment was the first to debunk the then-popular theory that light needed a "luminiferous ether" to transmit its waves through space. So to symbolize this new groundbreaking step forward in relative physics, the water represents the ether, and the cylinder represents the beam of light.

County

: Cuyahoga

Citation

: William Behnke, “Michelson-Morley Memorial Fountain,” Ohio Outdoor Sculpture , accessed September 28, 2021, https://oos.sculpturecenter.org/index.php/items/show/1023.

Title

Michelson-Morley Memorial Fountain

Description

A massive, chrome-plated, steel cylinder that shoots 25 feet straight up. It is abruptly cut off at a 45 degree angle, leaving a sharp edge that gives the viewer a look at the pitch black inside of the hollow cylinder. The entire structure rises out of a 15 foot, circular pool that is filled with teal-tinged water. The water spills down the cobblestone slopes, over the identifying placard, and into a 25 foot circular drain that surrounds the entire fountain.

The uneven edge of the cylinder seems to be pulling the structure up and away. This illusion is helped by the fact that the structure is suspended just above the water line, like a rocket just as it's taking off.

The fountain was installed to commemorate work done by Case Western Reserve University researchers Albert Michelson and Edward Morley. The 1887 experiment was the first to debunk the then-popular theory that light needed a "luminiferous ether" to transmit its waves through space. So to symbolize this new groundbreaking step forward in relative physics, the water represents the ether, and the cylinder represents the beam of light.

Creator

Location City

Location County

Location Street

10900 Euclid Ave

Location Type

Media Base Di

15ft

Media Base Depth

3ft

Media Sculpture Height

25ft