14 Nov 2011

Research in the Science Center

Where mankind, earth and the cosmos are explained

Take part in a rowing race with Freddy the skeleton or look into the eye of a tornado: At Bremen’s Science Center, science is a hands-on affair. Since its opening in September 2000, over 4.7 million enthusiastic visitors of all ages have visited the silver, whale-shaped building, and since July 2007 visitors have also been able to experiment outdoors, following the addition of the
5000 m2 outdoor EntdeckerPark. In October 2007 yet another building was opened, in which special exhibitions are held. The Science Center, however, remains the heart of the expanded Universum® Bremen complex, and its 4000 m2 of exhibition space include more than 250 interactive exhibits relating to mankind, earth and the cosmos. By visiting all three areas, visitors can gain a great deal of knowledge about matters ranging from the origin of life to galactic phenomena.
Learn to know yourself in Expedition Mensch
The three themed areas encourage visitors to research and discover things for themselves, which is why they are called “expeditions”. Short experimentation instructions and explanations aid visitors with their learning experience, and unlike many other Science Centers, the themed areas in Bremen’s Science Center have a beginning and an end. Expedition Mensch (Expedition Mankind), for example, begins with a fascinating time-lapse film to illustrate the development of a foetus. Afterwards visitors are introduced to the human senses, and are made to experience fear by standing beneath a huge stone which is only held in place by two thin wire ropes. Attention is then turned to the languages of the world using a large language globe, and at the end of the expedition, large wooden boards inform visitors how much of their lives they spend kissing, eating and working. Will you be above or below the statistical average?
Experience the power of nature on the earthquake sofa
Expedition Erde (Expedition Earth) begins in the centre of the earth, where visitors learn about such phenomena as magnetism. They then climb a mining ladder to reach higher layers of the earth and learn more about earthquakes and volcanism. What does an earthquake actually feel like? To find out, on the earthquake sofa brave visitors can experience at the push of a button the strengths of three different earthquakes that have actually taken place – in San Francisco, Albstadt and Izmit, whilst an illuminated board illustrates the way in which continental plates shift – the cause of earthquakes and volcanism. Next the focus of the expedition shifts to the earth’s surface and the forces of nature that play out upon it and are responsible for the appearance of our blue planet. Which paths do water flows take, and how are river deltas formed? How does a tornado come into being? Visitors also learn about different structures on the earth™s surface.
A trip to the stars
Expedition Kosmos (Expedition Cosmos) starts with a trip through the universe. Fascinating photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and a replica night sky transport visitors into other dimensions. The focus then shifts to colour and light. Is it really possible to jump over one’s own shadow? Yes, it is – in the frozen shadows room, where shadows can be captured for seconds at a time. Elsewhere colours can be mixed on a six-foot revolving mandala, while a ball floats in mid-air. Magic? Nothing of the sort. In the Science Center everything is clean and above board, and visitors learn about scientific laws whilst having fun.
The Milky Way – popular with younger visitors
What’s it like to walk through coloured rooms? Can I be the main star in a film about volcano researchers? In January 2007 a children’s area was opened on the ground floor, where the youngest visitors can sort out stones, shells and buttons, build imaginative structures with blocks of wood, walk along dream paths and create films. This experience-based area, called the Milchstraße, is specially designed for children between 3 and 8 years, and features more than 25 exhibits covering an area of 200 m2.
Another place in which to experiment in the Science Center is the ForscherAtelier (Researchers’ Workshop) on the third floor. The 70 m2 room can be booked by groups of children and adults for experiments, lectures and workshops.
Dinner in the dark and more
In addition to the permanent exhibition, the Science Center also organizes a number of special events. Courageous gourmets, for example, can enjoy an exclusive three-course menu in complete darkness. The Science Center also plays host to external events focusing on health-related matters, for example.

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