The Science Behind Pixar

Science behind Pixar

Sully and Mike welcome you as you enter the exhibit! Photo by Eitan Rovero-Shein

Pixar has been an integral part of man of our childhoods, and continues to be a source of inspiration, joy, and hope regardless of our age. The characters that this animation company has brought into our homes, and who have become our friends, have somehow managed to bring together people from all backgrounds.

It’s impossible to think about Mike and Sully and Boo; Nemo, Dory and Merlin; the Incredibles; Wall-E and Eva; any of the characters from Inside Out and so many others without cracking a smile or finding our minds wandering back to a time we saw them with a certain friend or family member. They all have the unique quality of bringing about cheerful memories in nearly anybody.

Science behind Pixar

Learn about the stages of character and story development in Pixar. Photo by Eitan Rovero-Shein

But how do these movies and characters come to life and become as likeable as they do? There’s a whole team behind their creation and The Museum of Science’s “The Science Behind Pixar” exhibit is the perfect way to look behind the scenes.

About The Science Behind Pixar Exhibit

Keeping with Pixar’s tradition of appealing to audiences of all ages, this exhibit is engaging for everyone and anyone. Showcasing the magic that happens out of the audience’s view, “The Science Behind Pixar” demonstrates the concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that are used throughout the many stages of production to create the final results that we see and love on screen so often.

The set up of the exhibit allows for attendees to learn about all the stages of production and the STEM concepts that go into each of them. By getting a glimpse at these things right next to the finalized products, children and teenagers are easily inspired to become involved with the subjects and works that can create such amazing results.

Many displays are equipped with interactive mediums that allow people to play around with and learn through firsthand contact, the function of many devices and technologies.

Science behind Pixar

Interactive displays illustrate the different stages of production. Photo by Eitan Rovero-Shein

At the same time, from the introduction video to the final display in the exhibit, children will also find the characters that they love, and will be able to take pictures with them, no doubt increasing their excitement and sense of wonder. Besides the actual characters, many of the interactive displays are also simple and fun and can be attractive to kids even if they can’t exactly understand the way the concepts work in real life.

Science behind Pixar

Diagrams and sketches were a big part of the exhibit. Photo by Eitan Rovero-Shein

Having said that, though, I will admit that even as a college student I had trouble understanding some of the explanations.

I realize that the creators of the exhibit tried to simplify the concepts as much as possible without reducing them to something unrealistic. It is perfectly valid to want to give the appropriate credit to the those who work so carefully to create the best possible movies, and I’m sure every team wanted to showcase the most spectacular things that they can do—but not being an animation or math or science student definitely put me a step behind.

Ultimately, my visit to “The Science Behind Pixar” was a fantastic experience. I learned a lot and got to hear directly from those who work behind the scenes at Pixar what exactly it takes to create the characters and films that make me happy every time I see them.

Seeing all the work that goes into making Pixar movies gave me a newfound appreciation for them and despite missing (I’m sure more than) a few math and science references, I definitely smiled throughout the whole thing.

Science behind Pixar

Sculptures of your favorite Pixar characters. Photo by Eitan Rovero-Shein

The exhibit will run through January 10, 2016 at The Museum of Science. Tickets can be purchased online or directly at the Museum; adult tickets are $29.00; senior tickets, $27.00; child tickets, $26.00.

For more information on things to do and see around Boston and Cambridge, check out our Tours & Attractions Blog!


-Ariela Rudy Zaltzman, Content Editor