A Mind-Blowing World of Science

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, Ivan and I went to The Mind Museum at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig as an alternative class for Physics. I have always wanted to go, but I never had the time to. My sister gave me four passes to their soft opening last month, but I was not able to use them, so I was really happy about this fun, albeit spontaneous, trip.

The Mind Museum completed its construction last December 15, 2011 and it finally opened to the public on March 16, 2012. It celebrates the infinite story of science and promotes learning to Filipinos, both young and old. The museum is the very first world-class science museum in the country, and encourages the understanding and advancement of science to help with the development of our nation as a whole. We went to the 3-6pm time slot. When I got there, there was already a crowd of people lining up to enter the museum. Parents were trying to get their restless children to behave, while some others were taking pictures at the Introduction Hall. The facilities were wonderful. Even the lavatories were clean and modern-looking.

The very first thing that you see in the museum is Aedi, the robot. She welcomes the guests, advises them to read the signs, and tells them to enjoy their Mind Museum experience. I would have to admit that I was not able to really maximize my stay there because I was too preoccupied with taking pictures. The signs are insightful and they are there to help the visitors understand the nature of the display. There are four main galleries found in the first floor: Universe, Earth, Life, and Atom. The second floor showcases the Technology gallery, and it is also where the function rooms, cafeteria, and auditorium are located. I felt like a little kid exploring the whole place. Ivan kept asking me, "Why are you so happy?" because I could not stop smiling in awe of the whole place. Each gallery has a unique and enlightening story waiting to be shared.

The Majesty of the Universe

The Universe Gallery gives one the feeling of being outer space. It features a mini-planetarium, a ceiling of stars, images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and models of the planets. Unfortunately, during our visit, the Mars Rover exhibit was not working because it got too tired from too much rough play. Still, the exhibits are fun in a way that one could explore the story of the Universe on his/her own, by listening to the speakers, pressing touch-screen monitors, and just appreciating how much space travel has developed. My favorite part of this gallery would be the part where you can control and see different phases of the moon. It was fascinating and educational at the same time, and I think it was the closest I can get to attaining my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut.

Nature Across the Breadth of Time

From the Universe Gallery, there's a Tunnel Craft corridor that leads to the Earth Gallery. It makes one dizzy because the whole thing kept spinning but it was really cool because I felt being warped into a different zone - from a star-filled galaxy to the prehistoric age of the Earth. The Earth Gallery focuses on nature and the history of our own planet. From viewing the exhibits, I learned how the natural history began with the Hadean Eon 4.6-4 billion years ago, followed by the Archean Eon, Proterozoic Eon, the Cambrian period, all the way to the Quaternary period where the evolution of man came. The highlight of this gallery would be the “tyrant lizard king” or T-Rex named Stan. It amazes me how about 65 million years ago, this dinosaur was alive and walking on land. I also read that the scars on his bones are signs of the wars he fought for survival. There were footprints of Stan and some rocks (one guide said it was actually his feces that hardened and turned to rock. Uhh.) around the 40-feet skeletal creature. The gallery presents the development and lifetime of the T-Rex and also other educational exhibits such as mass extinctions – how destruction was “a part of life,” the formation of the tornado, fires/eruption of a volcano, oceans, and the how the sky gets its blue color from the scattering of short wavelengths.

The Exuberance of Life

The Life Gallery is all about the human body, the living organisms, and its habitats. The exhibits shows theories on how life began, the Human Story – from “Lucy” to Homo Sapiens, DNA, and other parts of the body. One feature was the enlarged human brain and its different functions. For example, the Hypothalamus is responsible for hunger and thirst, while the Amygdala for feelings of anger, fear, and distress. There was also a life-size model of whale shark, the largest fish in the world, on display. I also enjoyed the rubber displays of different animal teeth, the Amino acids that light up when you press them, and the exhibit on taste of the human tongue.

The Strange World of the Very Small

Beside that is the Atom Gallery, which showcases the world of the very small - things we do not often notice. What lead me to this gallery was the huge melting chocolate bar that represented how all of the things are made up of atoms. I had to hide my disappointment when I found out that it wasn't a real chocolate bar. Haha. One of the things I liked most about the gallery is its interactive displays. I had fun posing in the shadow box, where the wall absorbs light flash and retains my silhouette for a few seconds. There were also exhibits on the Static Van de Graaff, where experimenting with electrons and current leaves your hair strands standing, the Newton's Cradle, frequencies, energy forms, and functional groups of the organic molecule. I remembered things I learned in high school, which was really nice and kind of nostalgic. There is also a Light Tunnel that is connected to the Universe Gallery. It shows the decreasing wavelength, examples of Gamma Rays, X-Rays, Ultraviolet, Visible Light (my favorite part - the lights were colorful and pretty), Infrared, Microwaves, and Radio Waves.

The Showcase of Human Ingenuity
From the original Gutenberg printing press to helper machines like the MIROSurge Robotic System, the last gallery, Technology, shows the development of human life itself. It presents different fields: mathematics, literature, agriculture, as well as technological innovations like robots and cars.

The Mind Museum definitely offers a very unique learning experience for everyone, and I was glad that I was able to see the wonders of science in a dynamic kind of way. Here are some suggestions for those who want to visit The Mind Museum:
  • Come on time so you can maximize your stay. Three hours may not be enough to explore the whole place.
  • Bring a nice camera so you can take good pictures of the exhibits. I only used my iPhone camera so the images I have are a bit low-res.
  • Read the signs and use the touch-screen monitors. Some people don't notice these things but they are really useful and educational. There are even mini games in some touch screen monitors.
  • Have fun! You don't have to be a science geek to enjoy the experience, just let curiosity take over your mind. ☺
You can buy tickets online or at the museum itself. Visit their website to find out more. ☺

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