Friday, 25 July 2014

My love for Science museums

During my time in Newcastle, the most outstanding place I have visited has been the Centre for Life. Situated in Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne the centre attracts around 250,000 visitors a year and is the 'largest provider of school science workshops in Europe'.

Curiosity Zone
The centre provides all sorts of activities including the 'Curiosity Zone' where science activities are provided to children, along with instructions' (sometimes) but the actual aim of the activity is not given. The curiosity zone aims to replicate research and development and compares research to a 'formal sort of play'. I fully agree, as all scientific research involves some playing around with concepts or reactants; the path is never straightforward and and the target almost never met first time around. I really loved the idea of leaving children to make what they wanted of the equipment provided and explore it for themselves without an adult telling them what they should be doing. Each child approached activities in a different way and had different ideas of what they 'should' do or what the equipment was used for. It's a great way to inspire budding scientists and give children an opportunity to 'think like a scientist'.





Some of the activities on offer in the Curiosity zone included 'The Reactable', a table where you can create sound using programmed shapes. The sound can then be adjusted by placing other shapes next to those already laid on the table, as the pucks interact with each other. Hence by using the process of placing shapes carefully and adjusting and fine-tuning the sounds you want, you can create a digital musical masterpiece. The Reactable aims to encourage creativity and curiosity and all in all is fun to play around with. 
 A video of me dancing to our own musical masterpiece. I have some seriously groovy dance moves going on that I sincerely apologise for. 


When I first got there I was already extremely excited, but my excitement got taken to a whole new level when I saw that one of the exhibitions on show was 'BODY WORLDS vital', which is an exhibition by Dr. Gunther von Hagens, using real human bodies. Dr von Hagens invented the technique of plastination in 1977 whilst working as an anatomist in Germany and the exhibition is approved by the Human Tissue Authority. To see real human bodies and the amazing things they are capable of is truly fascinating. Real people may donate their bodies to plastinated after they pass away and although this may seem a little grim, the result is a display of amazing exhibits informing the audience of how the human body works and how to live a healthy lifestyle. Samples of healthy lungs compared to those with emphysema and lung cancer can be seen and it's shocking to see how much damage you are capable of doing to your body. Although a lot of people are initially unsure about the exhibition, it is there to spread a good message about the importance of life. Of course photographs are not allowed to be taken inside the exhibition, after all these are people's bodies and must be respected, so I took a picture of the poster instead.

I also visited the centres Planetarium, however I'll leave this for the next blog post as I've been fortunate enough to visit two planetariums in two days, so I'll leave the awesome space stuff for later. :-)








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