Sunday, October 18, 2009

Science Centre

This past weekend's excursion was to the Singapore Science Centre, which is only about a 20 minute walk from our apartment. Like most everything else in Singapore, the Science Centre was well done- it was fun, informative, and engaging. Most importantly, there was a giant animatronic dinosaur at the entrance.The first exhibit was on optical illusions, and we spent a lot of time there. Because Bryan and I combined have taken a LOT of Psychology classes, we'd seen a lot of the illusions before, but there were some new ones, like this one below. When facing this direction, the picture looks like a man sitting in a canoe with a fish in the water ahead of him, next to an island with two trees.
When flipped 180 degrees, the picture looks completely different. Now you should see a big bird with a little girl in its huge beak. The things that previously looked like trees are now the bird's legs, and the fish is the bird's head.The main attraction at the Science Centre is the massive Tesla coil that sits in the hub of the building. Tesla coils let off a whole bunch of electricity, and make for pretty sweet demonstrations like the one in the video below. The balloons were full of hydrogen and when the sparks from the Tesla coil got to them, they exploded in a big burst of flame about 10 feet in front of us. Pretty awesome, and pretty loud!

video

Here's another fun optical illusion. No, Bryan is not actually decapitated, but it looks pretty neat, huh? The table has mirrors on each side that hide the person under the table, and reflect the walls and the floor, making it look like you can see under the table. Bryan went in a little door in the wall and stuck his head up through a hole in the table. And that's how magic happens : )
Most of the exhibits were really interactive- giant air cannons that you could use to shoot glittery tiles hung from the ceiling, sound wave demonstrations that allowed you to adjust amplitude and frequency to change the bouncing of ping pong balls, and super fun strength tests that Bryan and I turned into a competition (I lost miserably). Below is a giant, nifty kaleidoscope. It looks like a ton of mirrors, but it's actually only four mirrors that are set at odd angles. If you look closely, you can see Bryan in the mirrors, and it looks like he's pointing in a bunch of different directions. We ended up playing around with the mirrors for a long time.
The real fun came when we got outside to the science garden! It was like a big playground for nerds. The video is Bryan playing on some contraption- I think it's supposed to teach you about centrifugal force, but mostly we just learned that it was really fun to play with. He's trying to see how fast he can go.
video

Overall, this was a really fun outing. It seems like a great place to take kids, but it's also really fun to go there and just pretend to be a kid yourself!

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