Blog

Science in the City: Sparking Interest

By: Michelle DelCarlo, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 11 Aug 2011

A trip down memory lane ends up at Space Camp.

When I was ten years old, I went to Space Camp. I absolutely couldn’t wait to jump around in a harness to feel different levels of gravity, study moon rocks, and eat astronaut food. At the apex of my career as a Space Camper, I was designated the role of Payload Specialist 2 in a simulated trip to space, where, on cue, I pushed a lighted button to hurtle debris out into the black unknown.

In America, at that time, only super-ultra nerds went to Space Camp. The kinds of kids who secretly buy rock collections from mail order catalogs, read their parents’ old copies of National Geographic, and delight in watching documentaries on lightning. (Yup, that’s me.) I feel like now that I’m in a field where it’s good to be this interested in science, I’m happy that I was able to have that early experience.

So, it’s been wonderful for me to be a part of Science in the City this week. I’ve been helping direct primary school students to different demonstrations of science phenomena, and one demo in particular caught my attention. “Solids, Liquids, Gases,” put on by CSIRO, at one point involved using a Tesla coil to illustrate the properties of plasma, so a tiny spark was created. The presenter urged students to peer closer in case they couldn’t see this little stream of ionized gas.

I love that the Australian Museum puts on events like this, as I feel like it is important to peak children’s interest in science at an early age. It’s been really wonderful to be part of a museum initiative that will, hopefully, spark another young person’s interest in science – and beyond.