"Science on a Sphere" is new way to learn at SMV

By Kevin Jeanes - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - For more than 20 years, the first thing you see as you walk into the Science Museum of Virginia is the iconic pendulum. But you only have to walk about 100 feet farther to see a brand new and innovative exhibit, Science on a Sphere.

The Science Museum has one of only 60 in the world, and thanks to a $250,000 grant, it's right here in Richmond.

"It lets us talk about everything from real time weather to paleontological effects to climate to just about anything you can imagine we can actually use the sphere for," said museum director and CEO, Richard Conti.

He is excited to have this brand new addition, which has about 400 different data sets to choose from.

"We can actually show you things that are happening right now across the Earth... important seismic events or weather events that are taking place whether it's a cyclone in Australia or an El Niño effect out in the middle Pacific," Conti said.

The Science on a Sphere exhibit not only shows data here on earth, but other moons and stars around the universe as well, and it's all operated by a Wii remote.

Here's how it works: four projectors around the room display a composite image or data set on the sphere.  Much like a video game, the operator can rotate the image, or change the data using the Wii remote. It even has several movies that museum goers can sit in and watch.  And the kids love it.

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