The ETERNAL Experience - Event Series

Join LabX and the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences (CPNAS) in a new event series called The ETERNAL Experience. The focal point for the series is ETERNAL, a 60-foot-long jellyfish constructed out of plastic bags that is on display at the NAS Building in Washington, DC through June 2020. This sculpture by Maris Polanco points toward the issue of plastic in the ocean and the dangers it presents for ocean wildlife. Floating in ocean tides, these not-so-ephemeral wisps of plastic resemble a favorite snack of many large sea creatures—jellyfish. The consequences are dire. What can we do about the problem collectively and as individuals? #nasETERNAL


LabX Plastic Games
Location: Your Home

Join LabX for the first LabX Plastic Games, a series of weekly challenges using everyday plastic products. Learn more about our global plastic consumption as you show off your creativity and win cash prizes – all from the comfort of your own home!


Climate Music

ClimateMusic Project
Wednesday, April 22, 2020. 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM EDT

For Earth Day 2020 (the 50th anniversary of Earth Day), the NAS in collaboration with the ClimateMusic Project will host an online discussion with diverse experts exploring the intersections of music, climate change, and community action. The program will feature clips and a discussion of a previously recorded performance of Icarus in Flight, an original chamber work by composer Richard Festinger, performed by the Telegraph Quartet. Icarus in Flight is a science-guided composition that models three human drivers of climate change – population growth, fossil fuel use, and land-use change–over two centuries,  based on widely accepted IPCC data. 

Watch the video discussion and musical clips


Film: PBS NewsHour Presents The Plastic Problem

Stream the film online here

Watch the panel discussion

See the Q&A

By 2050 it is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans. PBS NewsHour takes a closer look at this now ubiquitous material, how it’s impacting the world and ways we can break our plastic addiction. The panel discussion features PBS NewsHour journalist Amna Nawaz and producer Lorna Baldwin, Lillian Power from DC Department of Energy & Environment, and Taylor Maddalene from National Geographic.

The ETERNAL Experience: Opening

See images from  the grand unveiling of ETERNAL, a 60-foot-long jellyfish made of plastic grocery bags floating above the NAS West Court.  The event featured hands-on activities related to themes of pollution, ocean conservation, consumption behavior, and environmental sustainability. 

See Images and learn about this event






Night Lab ETERNAL – A Consumption Themed Event
Date TBD
National Academy of Sciences, 2101 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 

More information coming soon.






 ETERNAL: Family Day with Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
June 16, 2020
Washington, DC 

More information coming soon.







POSTPONED: March 19 DASER – Elements, featuring Maris Polanco
National Academy of Sciences, 2101 Constitution Ave NW
Room 120 & West Court, Washington, DC 

Due to concerns related to COVID-19, the March 19 DASER is postponed. Please stay tuned for an announcement about the new date.

The DC Art Science Evening Rendezvous (DASER) is an ongoing discussion series, organized by CPNAS. DASER- Elements will focus on the elements of air, earth, fire, and water. ETERNAL designer Maris Polanco, representing the “Water” theme, will speak about her motivations for creating the exhibit and her hopes for what sort of action ETERNAL will inspire. 




Eternal Jellyfish sculpture

The brainchild of artist/scientist Maris Polanco, ETERNAL was initially created for an exhibition called “Depth“ at the Science Gallery Detroit that “explore[d] water’s intense power… while also showcasing the beauty and life it brings.” The ETERNAL Experience expands on that theme by showcasing creative, culturally-relevant programming that highlights issues related to pollution, ocean conservation, consumption behavior, and environmental sustainability. Find and share ETERNAL on social media: #nasETERNAL

Learn More