the Science Centre as a child because of the awesome views of nature out of the windows.
Today, the views are still there and just as awesome, as well as a long line of ancient rocks up to four billion years old (the actual rocks aren't that old, but tiny grains in them called zircons are.) The earth is 4.5 billion years old. You may wonder why the oldest rocks aren't that old too? It turns out shortly after the Earth formed, in the violent early days of the solar system, it was hit by a Mars-sized planet and mostly liquified into lava again! The debris launched into space coalesced and became our Moon. It's mind-blowingly daunting and humbling that a human lifetime on this scale is a thousandth of a millimetre, much thinner than a coat of paint!
After the bridge, you enter the 'Great Hall' which has been taken over by the latest innovations in Robotics technology. There were hands-on robotics devices and the chance to chat with leading robot experts about the Mars 'Curiosity Rover' instruments and of course our 'CanadArm' maker. I was too shy to interact with them as I didn't have any knowledge in robotics so would have been in over my head!
Space is next, and it's always been that way at the Science Centre. Years ago when I was young, this was my least favorite section (and still is) but we were here and so I made the compromise. The first thing you'll notice is the model of a rocket called 'Saturn V'.
Saturn V was the largest and most powerful rocket ever launched and was used by the Apollo space program. The Saturn V sent the first humans to the Moon in 1969. It stood 111 metres high (which is taller than a 36 storey building. It measured about 10 metres across the base. It had the capacity of sending 130,000 kg into orbit which was achieved through 3 separate stages, with each stage burning high-peformance fuel. There were 15 Saturn V built in all.
Now time to get out into the fresh outdoors, so we snuck outside to look around before going downstairs into the only level of the Science Centre that remained (sadly most of the large space and larger exhibits are stored away unused and forgotten.) There's still much science in the natural world of course.
Now this I've seen before, but never looked into its meaning. I just thought it was a piece of modern art. It turns out it has a very deep and well thought out meaning. It was explained to me like this, 'It's a human figure with the parts of the body sized proportionally to how much of our brain is devoted to them. Notice that one thumb uses more brain-space than both legs and feet!' The plaque at right that should have explained this was removed so if I didn't have anyone to explain this, it would have just been a meaningless and somewhat odd statue!
In contrast, there are newer areas such as the Weston Family Innovation Centre, and a large play area on the second level that replaced numerous sections of real science exhibits. This area sadly doesn't seem to have any real learning opportunities or demonstrate any scientific principles. It seems like an overt attempt to get parents to bring their kids in without considering that the whole idea of what the purpose of this place is that they will be learning something relevant to their future lives.
I wasn't going to touch on this subject here, but this is a factor that is inescapable here: The corporate logos are
everywhere due to the donations and sponsorships required to keep the centre going financially. I don't know for sure, and probably won't look into it, but it seems the visitor headcount has gone down, and so many of the great exhibits that I remember are gone, leaving much empty space (why would they be removed?)
...and here are the lightest and heaviest woods in the world.
Can you tell which is the lightest and which one is the heaviest?
Worlds lightest wood
Worlds heaviest wood (one of them)
These old household implements are surprisingly used to demonstrate that intelligence test are biased, as some assume knowledge of objects, words and ideas that some ages and cultures may be unfamiliar with. I think that most people would probably guess most of them by their appearance. Don't peek, but when you are done writing them down, scroll down to the bottom of the post, where you'll find the answers there.
Ever seen a plasma ball? They look like lightning in a glass, powered by a Tesla coil discharging through inert gases. The one at the Science Centre is the largest I have ever seen.
Here is a very old exhibit that I remember when I was a child. Can you pick the winner of the two discs? If you click on the picture you should be able to read about the outcome and why.
Diagram 2 will show the same principles in a different way. As it turns out, it is much more difficult to spin the 7 and 20 lbs wheels than the 7 and 20 lb. wheels on the left because all the weight is distributed on the outside.
|Diagram 3- Open the Gate|
Surprisingly not as easy as you think. There is a trick to it, and I figured it out in less than 5 minutes.....a fun kind of puzzle. Turns out all there is to it is to push down on the post on the far right, which lowers the latch to unlock the gate. But I ask you, is this science or art and design? Maybe the science is Cognitive Science, the study of human perception (and its shortcomings) which is also interesting. It covers psychology, consciousness and perception, and radically influenced Artificial Intelligence. So, yes, this gate belongs here.
Designed and Constructed by James Delgety in 1989.