Last Saturday, my officemate, Elisa, and I traveled to Munich for the day to go to the Deutsches Museum. It’s 6 floors devoted to science and technology, from airplanes to industrial metal working machines. There are rooms filled with engines that have been cutaway so you can see inside. It’s a great place to get a feel for how a certain machine or scientific idea has developed over time.

They have a new exhibit called the Center for New Technologies, where they introduce the public to nanotechnology. I’ve never seen an exhibit quite like this. They do more than explain that nanotechnology is really small. They show the public how researchers study nanotechnology. They have actual lab instruments (or just pieces of them) on display, empty bottles of chemicals, and bottles for cell culture. They also talk about ethical issues associated with the latest research. In the genetic engineering section, they address common misconceptions about cloning.

I thought it was really well done. Usually science exhibits just present clusters of information, but this exhibit teaches the public how researchers learn that information. The director said that he wanted to teach the public about the “fragility of science,” that science is always changing as researchers uncover new information. I think this exhibition at least is a start to showing the public that science is a constantly evolving process.

Elisa and I wandered around the museum for four hours. Then we stopped for dinner and caught the train home. That’s the last thing on my list of things I wanted to do and I’m really glad we went.

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