Welcome To The Santa Maria Experiment!

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Using History To Discover Science . . .

This is the official site for the Santa Maria Experiment exhibit at the Santa Maria Seeds of Change Visitor Education Center in downtown Columbus, Ohio. This exhibit combines history from two different epochs to prove a scientific theory of how objects can be made invisible through the bending of light, demonstrated for the first time by Marshall Barnes in 1994 and presented by him in scientific colloquium sponsored by the Biological and Physical Sciences Department of Columbus State Community College May 2nd,1996 - predating the current stream of invisibility research reported in the news by more than a decade! Celebrated as the first tangible evidence for the legendary Philadelphia Experiment as related in the book by William Moore and Charles Berlitz, the Santa Maria Experiment takes on greater importance in view of the continued search for invisibility technology that appears repeatedly in the media on an international scale.

The First Demonstration of Invisibility Cloaking: The Santa Maria being rendered 85% invisible in 1994 through diffraction of light. (C) 1994 Marshall Barnes. All Rights Reserved

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Columbus Convention Center      Drury Inn & Suites


Teachers! Here's a chance to teach your students about real invisibility! 

With the popularity of Harry Potter and his invisible cloak, or the Ring from the Hobbit stories, or even the cloaking spacecraft from Star Trek, invisibility is a popular feature of science fiction and fantasy. It's also a hot topic in today's science world. Through additions to our web site, our booklet, DVD, or a direct visit to the Santa Maria Experiment exhibit, you can expose your students to the fascinating real world of invisibility research. We will be updating our site with special features with teachers in mind. It will also be possible this fall to schedule a live interaction session on invisibility at the Santa Maria Experiment exhibit or a visit to your school!

Any question that this is an unique method of inducing a mirage of invisibility can be easily resolved by reading this excellent article on invisibility by Ulf Leonhardt, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of St. Andrews. He covers every physical aspect of the subject except the one used by developer Marshall Barnes to create these spectacular effects!


Here are the results to an August 9, 2006 CNN survey on invisibility:

Can you imagine invisibility technology ever catching on?
Yes - one to watch for the future. 
  87%  3279 votes
No - can't see it.
                    13%  511 votes
Total: 3790 votes

Be A Part of the Adventure - at the Harbor or at Home!

Whether or not you can physically visit the Santa Maria Experiment exhibit, you can still be a part of the action of invisibility research through our site here and the number of spin-off projects and products that are soon to be released. From the DVD, The Santa Maria Experiment:Rainbow Invisibility, featuring actress Rhoda Cronenbach and the full color booklet by the same name, to the number of planned video releases for viewing online, the Santa Maria Experiment exhibit is an ongoing experience full of educational discovery and near limitless possibilities!


This Exhibit was Made Possible in Part by a Grant from the HIGH STREET NEIGHBORHOODS COALITION BOARD and

administered through the Columbus Jewish Foundation.

News Photo from Japan

A first of its kind in the world!

The Santa Maria Experiment exhibit is the first such display to feature actual successful research in optical invisibility. Though there have been many stories in the media as of late concerning various efforts on an international level to achieve invisibility, the tests conducted by Marshall Barnes in 1994 were the first and still only publicly known works to achieve any kind of optical invisibility by bending light across a number of wave lengths. Unlike the video shown from news reports from Japan, there were no cameras involved that showed background imagery on the front of any of the targets. Marshall's tests were experiments to determine whether refracted light could be manipulated to cause a mirage of invisibility - and it worked!

There's more from the initial tests that led up to the Santa Maria Experiment!

The photograph above is of just one of a number of small scale tests that were done to study the effect of diffracted light on solid, opaque objects. You'll see more photos on display at the exhibit, as well as be able to view a video about all of the tests conducted by Marshall Barnes - from Star Wars toys to a steel sculpture and then the Santa Maria itself! Photo (C) 1994 by Marshall Barnes. All Rights Reserved

Rhoda Cronenbach

Under production now is a documentary about the Santa Maria Experiment to be hosted by actress Rhoda Cronenbach. Updates will be added to a special section coming here soon to our site!


We also want to welcome Jennifer Alwood, Major Medical USA, Atchely Signs and Graphics and The Art of Caring, as new sponsors!  

The Santa Maria Experiment exhibit is a spin-off project of the successful SuperScience for High School Physics program, bringing advanced concept physics and technology ideas to high school classrooms! The SuperScience program is the brain child of research and development engineer Marshall Barnes and the Thought of Infinity think tank group.


There's no doubt that the subject of invisibility has captured the public's imagination. That makes seeing the Santa Maria Experiment exhibit, or its related products, a must!

This site is still under construction but is updated often and will drop the non-affiliated banner ads before Thanksgiving! On the way are photogalleries, a media room, a library and other enhancements. It is our intention for this site to not only represent the Santa Maria Experiment exhibit itself, but to be the World Wide Web center for all things dealing with invisibility, which also reflects the fact that the exhibit creator, Marshall Barnes, is poised to create his own center for invisibility research.

Stop back often. This is where the cloaking action really is! 

Linda Ketcham, Executive Director of Columbus Santa Maria, Inc
stands surrounded by the panels of the Santa Maria Experiment exhibit
at the Seeds of Change Visitor Education Center on the riverfront downtown.