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Science center inspires young minds

By Charles E. Buban
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:13:00 11/01/2008

Filed Under: Science (general), Lifestyle & Leisure

FOR the past 18 years, this science and technology center in Marikina City has consistently proven that arousing and fostering the natural curiosity of young minds could be done even without resorting to glitzy light and sound spectacles.

Located at the back part of Riverbanks Center?s Building D, the interior of the Philippine Science Centrum is rather simple with its plain painted walls, lighting that is provided by a couple of fluorescent lamps and ventilation courtesy of two giant exhaust fans as well as wall-mounted fans.

But such setting has not stopped millions of young students from visiting the country?s first interactive center with exhibits and galleries devoted to applied science and technology.

3M visitors

In fact, the PSC has already welcomed close to 3 million visitors since its opening in 1990.

The science exhibits were decent looking, locally conceptualized and fabricated by the center?s in-house engineers and scientists.

They range from classic displays like Archimedes? Screw (a machine for raising water, invented by the ancient Greek scientist Archimedes) to the recently installed Tsunami Generator (simulates how this giant and deadly waves are produced).

?Children are naturally curious?after all, everything in the world is new to them, whether they are looking at the various optical illusion displays at the PSC or wondering why their hairs rise whenever they touch a Van De Graaff ball. The place encourages discovery, wonder and awe not only from children but even to their guardians and teachers as well,? said May Pagsinohin, the center?s managing director.

Brainchild

The PSC was the brainchild of engineer Meneleo Carlos, president and chair of the Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology whose first flagship program is the PSCm.

As Riverbanks president, Carlos donated the 2,500-square-meter exhibition hall that houses PSC?s 10 galleries that feature 150 interactive exhibits.

The PSC also has two corporate-sponsored areas?the Diwa Reading Center corner and the Meralco corner.

But what probably set the place apart from similarly themed destination is that the PSC only asks a minimal admission fee of P90 (adults and students) while children under 2 years old and teachers are free of charge.

Link up

?We usually link up with tour agencies who are usually contacted by schools whenever they plan a field trip. These agencies would include the Centrum as one of the destinations,? Pagsinohin explained.

To extend its reach, PSC also moves around the country, setting up traveling exhibitions like the Adventures in Discovery, Sci-Fun Caravan and Science on the Move.

?These traveling exhibitions already reached 86 cities and towns around the country and already attracted 2.2 million visitors. Through these exhibitions, we have helped provide an alternative science learning to fill up the developing science education in the countryside,? Pagsinohin reported.



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