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Summer 2004 Vol. 4 No. 2



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SPOTLIGHT


Science Museum Opens With a Celebration

Opening day at the Marian Koshland Science Museum, photos courtesy Koshland Science Museum

The new Marian Koshland Science Museum opened to a crowd, acrobats, and big-band music in April. The centerpiece of the celebration was a 30-foot-long backdrop and stage, a humorous Rube Goldberg-inspired device with 10 consecutive actions from a symbolic warming of the Earth to flooding the Statue of Liberty, culminating with a grand finale of rocket-fireworks that signaled the official opening of the museum.

"It was wonderful to witness how eager people were to see the museum -- there were admission lines throughout the day," said Patrice Legro, the museum's director. "Our first visitors' reactions to the exhibits were very positive and encouraging."

Opening day at the Marian Koshland Science Museum, photos courtesy Koshland Science Museum

The museum's mission is to increase public understanding of the nature and value of science, and to make National Academies reports more accessible to the public. Through interactive displays, the exhibits bring to life scientific advancements that impact daily life.

The first gallery explores the Wonders of Science with a short video that looks at the frontiers of scientific research, reviewing topics such as dark matter and dark energy.

Opening day at the Marian Koshland Science Museum, photos courtesy Koshland Science Museum

The Global Warming Facts & Our Future gallery reveals the science behind global warming and examines the possible implications of this phenomenon for the quality of life around the world. By sliding large plasma screens along timelines, visitors can to see how temperatures around the world shifted during the 20th century. Another screen shows temperature projections for the next century. The exhibit also features various interactive displays that encourage visitors to consider what role they play in the planet's warming.

The Putting DNA to Work exhibit details various applications of DNA sequencing and their benefits. Here one can "catch" a criminal and discover the genetic origin of the SARS virus, as well as learn about other uses for genetic sequencing.

After making their debut at the Marian Koshland Science Museum, these and future exhibits will travel to other science museums across the country. Topics for the museum's next exhibits are already under consideration.

Each weekend, visitors can join local student interns from Banneker High School for free hands-on science experiments on DNA and nanotechnology. For more information, visit <www.koshland-science-museum.org>.   -- Maureen O'Leary



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Copyright 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences