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See a different kind of STEM this Spring



Aberdeen Science Centre launches new exhibits


Recent weather conditions might have you questioning it, but spring is here!

Now is the time of year when gardeners look to see the fruits of their labours as new shoots start to appear in the garden – however Aberdeen Science Centre is encouraging visitors to see a different kind of STEM this spring.

The centre has unveiled three new exhibits for visitors to explore.

The first is a new spaceship docking manoeuvre exhibit, which challenges both children and adults to ‘virtually park’ a spaceship in the centre’s Space zone – an experience which is truly out of this world!.

A new HD screen has been installed by local company AV One Solutions to provide a closer look at life in space via the NASA website.

The second of the new exhibits, a mesmerising slinky treadmill, can be found on the second floor of the centre in the Test It area.

Visitors to the centre will also be able to experience the OPITO Theatre of Energy, which is now open to the public throughout the day.

A truly immersive experience, it delivers three interactive experiences, each of which is based around energy.

The Story of Energy highlights the importance of having a mix of energy sources and how this is shaped by our needs.

The Energy Wall features seven core stores of energy including chemical, mechanical, thermal, electrical, magnetic, kinetic and gravitational. Visitors to the OPITO Theatre of Energy can see their body take on the properties of each store.

Finally, the Energy Game challenges visitors to balance the energy supply to an imaginary Aberdeen City. The aim is to avoid blackouts and make sure less CO2 is released into the atmosphere.

“Spring officially sprang on March 20 and with the spring school holidays just around the corner we are delighted to unveil our new exhibits,” said Bryan Snelling, chief executive of Aberdeen Science Centre.

“Moving around in zero gravity is a challenge that those operating in space have to deal with so the first of our new exhibits will challenge visitors to put their skills to the test and find out whether they can successfully manoeuvre a spaceship on to a docking station.

“A slinky toy might be best known for turning somersaults down stairs. Our second new exhibit gives visitors to the centre a chance to see kinetic energy in action as they discover how the slinky behaves on a treadmill.

“They can also play with speed of the treadmill and find out just how quickly the slinky can travel.”

The OPITO Theatre of Energy is the UK’s first immersive experience of its kind and the interactive sessions showcase the wide variety of exciting opportunities that STEM subjects can lead to, says Bryan.

“Just as gardeners have to nurture their bulbs and seeds in order for them to grow, the same can be said for young people and STEM. Giving young people the chance to explore the centre allows them to interact with hands on exhibits in a fun environment. This has an important role to play in unleashing their curiosity and nurturing what could be a lifelong love of science.”

The centre’s exhibits are aimed at all ages and are themed into six zones: Energy; Space; Life Sciences; Make It, Test It; and the dedicated area for the under-6s, as well as the Shell Learning Zone, where STEM topics are brought to life.

Aberdeen Science Centre reopened to the public in November 2020 after a major project to create an aspirational science centre which reflects the STEM priorities for both industry and education.

Aberdeen Science Centre’s £4.7million redevelopment was made possible by generous support and funding from the Inspiring Science Fund – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome – with additional funding provided by Opportunity North East (ONE) and Aberdeen City Council.

The project secured a further £1.5million from funders and sponsors including OPITO, Shell, Equinor, bp, The Robertson Trust, TAQA and CNOOC International to deliver quality exhibits and programmes to enhance the overall visitor experience at the venue, as well through outreach work.

In January 2023 it was announced that Aberdeen Science Centre was one of 13 Aberdeen projects to be awarded funding by the Just Transition Fund. Aberdeen Science Centre was awarded £39,500; the money will help to fund an electric vehicle that will house an interactive climate change exhibit.

For more information on Aberdeen Science Centre and book your visit, www.aberdeensciencecentre.org

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