Preposterous Universe

Thursday, November 18, 2004
A new kind of science center

I'm in sunny Orlando with my friends from Project Exploration, who had previously fed me and brought me along on dinosaur expeditions. (It's good to pick the right friends.) Why are we here, you ask? PE has already established a great track record at working with kids and getting them interested in science, but they have grand ambitions to grow far beyond their current presence. In particular, they are planning to build an exploration center that would serve as some sort of hybrid between a science museum, action park, and research facility. (Still working on what to actually call it.) Part of the philosophy is to go beyond just showing people the wonders of science, and to engage them interactively with the process by which science is actually done. They want to demystify science and help children appreciate that this is an adventure they can all be part of.

One of the first steps in the process of making this real (besides negotiating with the city of Chicago to snag a great location, which is also ongoing) is to brainstorm about what such a place might be and what it might contain. So here we are at Design Island, where we're having a Charette to develop ideas for the project. "Charette," as I have learned, is jargon for a brainstorming session. (The term evolved from 19th-century students at the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts, rushing their projects around in a cart called a charette.) We have certain parameters in terms of space, and a far-reaching agenda about what we want to do with it -- exhibits that are interactive and educational, opportunities for visitors to interact with working scientists, space for lectures and announcements of exciting results, research laboratories, an open science library, and all the usual extras. So we're bouncing around ideas about nature walks and virtual reality and animatronic dinosaurs. We want the experience to be different than you get at a typical museum -- less about the shiny and impressive final products, and more about the messy reality. In the meantime I'm having a great time experiencing a very different messy reality; in the next five years or so we'll get to see how it all turns out.

Ideas on culture, science, politics.
Sean Carroll

Preposterous Home
Atom Site Feed (xml)
RSS Feed
Technorati Profile
Bloglines Citations
Blogroll Me

About Last Night
Alas, a Blog
The American Sector
Asymmetrical Information
Big Brass Blog
Bitch, Ph.D.
Body and Soul
Brad DeLong
Chris C Mooney
Collision Detection
Creek Running North
Crescat Sententia
Crooked Timber
Daily Kos
Daniel Drezner
Deepen the Mystery
Dispatches from the Culture Wars
Dynamics of Cats
Electron Blue
Ezra Klein
The Fulcrum
Girls Are Pretty
Jacques Distler
James Wolcott
John and Belle
Julie Saltman
Lawyers, Guns and Money
Leiter Reports
The Loom
Matt McIrvin
Matthew Yglesias
Michael Bérubé
Michael Nielsen
Mixing Memory
Mr. Sun
Not Even Wrong
Obsidian Wings
Orange Quark
Paige's Page
Panda's Thumb
Playing School, Irreverently
Political Animal
The Poor Man
Quantum Diaries
Quark Soup
Real Climate
Roger Ailes
Rox Populi
Shakespeare's Sister
Simple Stories
Sisyphus Shrugged
Smijer & Buck
TPM Cafe
Uncertain Principles
Volokh Conspiracy

Powered by Blogger
Comments by Haloscan
RSS Feed by 2RSS.com

February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005