Interview and photos: Renowned inventor and artist Tom Shannon’s first Oklahoma exhibit is on view at Science Museum Oklahoma –

"This is a Nano Earth - a one-billionth size Earth - and it's the same size as the iris of your eye," Shannon said, holding up a tiny piece of the sculpture. "This is human-sized, so you can go a billion down and get to the molecules and a billion up to get to the Sun. So, we're right in the middle - this shows that we're right midway between molecules and the Sun."

Oklahoma exclusives

On view through Oct. 25, the New York City-based artist's first Oklahoma exhibit provides museum visitors a chance to view some exclusive offerings.

"I think they'll get a better understanding of our size and place in this universe, seeing how small we really are in the scheme of things and seeing how everything exists in the universe and how we relate to it," Henderson said.

"Universe in the Mind | Mind in the Universe" features a new 6-foot edition of one of Shannon's signature works - the "Synchronous World Clock" - created especially for Science Museum Oklahoma. One of his numerous patented inventions, he created the original "Synchronous World Clock" in 1984 as a sculptural way of depicting the rotation of the Earth. He used a world map projection by the legendary inventor, artist and visionary R. Buckminister Fuller in the original, and a version of his "Synchronous World Clock" is in the Smithsonian Institutions collection.

"It rotates counter-clockwise ... but just once per day in synchronicity with the actual Earth. So, it gives the time in a very natural way because it's moving at the same speed that Earth is rotating," Shannon said. "If this thing is moving freely, it really keeps time perfectly. ... I'm always refining things and thinking about a new way to do it."

For instance, Shannon created his first magnetic array, "Compass Moon Atom Room," in 1991 for an exhibit at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden, where it is now part of the permanent collection. The "Atom Compass Array" in Science Museum Oklahoma's lobby is the first to be shown in the United States.

"Universe in the Mind | Mind in the Universe" also includes about 150 pages of sketches, notes and ideas he has jotted down from 1966 to present day. This display of "first drafts, ideas, dreams, observations, fleeting thoughts" ranges from drawings for a galactic mirror that would allow humans to get an outside view of our Milky Way galaxy to plans for a small, lightweight, electric "city car" that could collapse to the size of suitcase and be stowed in an apartment or office.

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Interview and photos: Renowned inventor and artist Tom Shannon's first Oklahoma exhibit is on view at Science Museum Oklahoma -

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