ˈsaɪəns is the phonetic transcription of science, which is very similar to that of sygns - ˈsaɪnz. To us, this similarity is significant not only verbally but also semantically, since we see our work as the symbiosis between the science and artistry standing behind these phosphorescent glass tubes.
As you may know, Neon is a gas. It was discovered in 1898 during experimentations on liquid air and given the Greek name for ‘new’. It belongs to the noble gasses, meaning it is colorless, odorless and inert at room temperature, it is therefore also not dangerous. It is present naturally in the air you breathe and even in the exosphere of the moon. As soon as you isolate it in higher density (this is where the glass tube comes in) and apply moderate electric voltage to it, however, it becomes reactive and glows orange-red.
Neon lights of other colors actually do not contain Neon, but different gasses: yellow, for example, is achieved with Helium and blue through Argon. A broader spectrum of colors can then be achieved by mixing the gasses and by using different kinds of coating for the glass employed for the tubes.
The required electrical input for, i.e. your typical ‘open’ sign is about 90 watts, which actually makes it more efficient in terms of energy consumption than a fluorescent light bulb. In addition neon lights generally last for about 10 years, after which they simply need to be refilled.
Interestingly, Neon is made use of for several of its properties, other than its bright reactivity. Among its other employments are vacuum tubes, light meter tubes, television tubes and others, though its most interesting and tubeless use would probably have to be cryonics: the freezing of corpses for preservation, trusting that in the future we will have developed the necessary medical technology to re-enliven them. In film and art, neon has continuously been associated with futurism for the past 100 years - we guess you could say neon is one of those cases in which science actually turns out to provide the proof for a seemingly unfounded cultural perception.