Conceptualized in 2008, the globe-shaped dome soon became calling card for the Science City and a landmark. The Science City officials state that the 50-metre diameter dome is in fact one of the largest of its kind in the country. Dilip S Gadhvi, executive director, Science City, told TOI that they meticulously planned the various exhibits over a period of past three years.
“We wanted an immersive experience for the visitors. Right from walk-ins such as birds and animals of Gujarat to interactive exhibits in human anatomy, earth sciences or freedom from hunger sections, we tried to provide a peek into abundance of earth’s resources and why it is called cradle of life. The three-storey pavilion has over 30 exhibits covering various aspects of science and technology,” he said.
Narottam Sahoo, senior scientist, Science City, said that the exhibits and activities are planned for visitors in all age groups. “Almost all exhibits are interactive, that is, the visitors can operate it to know more. Here the dinosaurs tilt their heads for you and the mountains erupt in volcano at touch of a button. We have even got Surface computers to demonstrate natural disasters to Rs 5.5 lakh worth of a mineral stone, perhaps one of its kind in the country,” he said.
The journey that starts from bowels of earth in form of coal mines ends up at the top floor as visitors can get into astrolabe to get up and close with the stars.
Floating Granite Globe
The wonders of science start even before one enters the pavilion. A ball of solid granite weighing 4.5 tons greets the visitor. Do you think you can move the ball of 4 feet diameter that almost weighs as much as an elephant? The answer might be no but the water jets actually play with it and keep it afloat so that even a small child can move it! Recently installed at the pavilion, it demonstrates laws of physics. A thin water layer is created between the ball and its base by a 3Hp submersible pump that pushes the water in angular nozzle giving rotation to the ball.
Few of the state citizens might forget the January 2001 quake that destroyed many towns in Kutch. What about learning about earthquakes while experiencing one? The pavilion has an earthquake simulator with a capacity of 20 persons fashioned like drawing room of a normal house. A television set plays cricket match while it is suddenly interrupted by a big jolt as everything goes helter-skelter and a news reporter starts describing the major earthquake. What follows is information on various types of earthquakes, why it takes place and what one needs to do when experiencing one.
What it feels like to enter into the depths of earth and mining coal, still considered to be primary source for our power needs? An exhibit spread in more than 200 square feet at base of the Earth pavilion takes the visitors on a ride to one such mine. The officials state that it took them more than six months to recreate an authentic mine modeled on Godavari coal fields with actual instruments and machinery that they sourced from mines in Jharkhand and other parts of the country. While a couple of other science museums have scale models, this exhibit is considered to be one of the largest. The dark recesses are completed with information on mining, cutting and processing of the coals to surface of earth.
How humans got evolved and how our body functions like a factory? Visit the life sciences section that houses exhibits on a variety of subjects ranging from function of our internal organs to biodiversity of Gujarat. It starts with skeleton and various stages of fetal formation and ends with mechanical models of various systems. One of the attractions is our body as a factory. The officials state that it shows how our body tirelessly functions as a cohesive unit that would require nearly 50 persons if it were a factory. One can also walk through Evolution Park, meet the birds and animals and listen to their voices with push of a button. Don’t forget to check on the dinosaurs that would greet you with nod of their heads.
One might have learnt periodic table in school but how about checking out the actual elements that can be seen? An entire section is dedicated to various kinds of rocks and earth formations right from sand to diamond. Accompanying information tells the visitors about importance of rocks in our lives as it helped us build mega structures and intricate carvings. Center of attraction in the section however is huge amethyst rock that the officials sourced from south India. The cut rock gives glimpse of quartz inside that is widely used as gems in jewellery.