The impact of science and technology on our lives grows with each passing day. Yet, with so much continually swirling around us, the basic workings of the world we live in have become obscured, its simple beauty hidden. It’s not that we have given up on being curious. It’s just that for many of us, the world we face seems too complex to understand.A Guest Post By Shahin Amanat, MD Board Director, Tucson ScienceWorks
Tucson is already blessed with several great science based venues, such as the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, Biosphere II, and the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, among others. Each is unique in its way. These institutions have provided a myriad of cultural and educational opportunities throughout the years.
Our city is also home to one of the foremost science research institutions in the nation, the University of Arizona. In recent years we have additionally seen explosive growth in optical sciences as well as the biomedical and solar energy industries. Tucson has become one of America’s premier ‘Science Cities.’ All of this has given us plenty of reasons to be proud residents of this community.
Yet in spite of Tucson’s leading position in the scientific and technological worlds, there has been a concomitant need in this community for a place where people can connect with the science and technology of their everyday life, a place where people have an opportunity to get their hands on the basic processes of science, to follow their own curiosity, to form conclusions, to test their theories.
Tucson ScienceWorks will fill this niche by establishing an interactive science center, which will offer a rich social environment that encourages creative exploration for people of all ages. Visitors will be able to explore at their own pace, driven by their own interest and curiosity in an engaging, non-threatening and fun learning environment.Visitors will be able to see every day phenomena and objects, in unique and sometimes unexpected ways. As they explore, they may make some surprising discoveries, even about themselves.
Exhibits and programs will not emphasize the transfer of information, but allow visitors to enter into the process of discovery. This is the unique approach that Tucson ScienceWorks will take. We will not try to ‘push’ science content into visitors; rather we will endeavor to help our visitors open up to learning it for themselves.This self-motivated learning will be a tool visitors can use in their daily lives outside our walls.
Another unique feature of Tucson ScienceWorks will bethe ScienceWorkshop. Here visitors will be able to talk with designers and craftspeople as they build new exhibits. Visitors will see the creative process, and in some cases participate in it. Through this experienced based approach, TucsonScienceWorks will help demystify science and technology. It’s not magic, but a lot of hard work, perseverance and creativity. Seeing this process will be another tool to help visitors reconnect with the world around them.
We are enthusiastic about the year ahead as our highly talented board moves forward with our ambitious enterprise. Our goal is to open a ‘launch pad’ for TucsonScienceWorks by the end of this year. We are currently in negotiations with Park Place for a building on its west side. This ideal location is at one of the busiest shopping areas in Tucson, close to many businesses, restaurants, including nearby theaters. Thus, Tucson ScienceWorks will serve as a catalyst for further cultural development and economic improvement on the east side of town.
The time is now for a new science center in Tucson, and Tucson ScienceWorks is this place. Please support us as we embark on this exciting endeavor to establish a much needed venue for this ‘Science City’.