Small Streams


The Gift of Science
December 6, 2013, 3:30 am
Filed under: business, education, math, mind, technology | Tags: , ,

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I saw this lava lamp display at the V&A’s Museum of Science. Honest to Pete, I think there should be a whole room devoted to a lava lamp display. Who doesn’t love lava lamps? That and oil and glycerin on a projector, the psychedelic “wet show.” Maybe some polka dots and mirrors like the Mattress Factory‘s Yayoi Kusama installation.

The trick would be to create a room that excited the senses but didn’t make you physically ill.

If there’s any problem I have with lava lamps, it’s that science gift shops devote so much shelf space to them. Many science museums’ gift shops concentrate on the “ooh, shiny” distractions rather than objects that indulge people’s (not just children’s) love of the methods of science. I have to admit that people who run museum gift shops know more about what sells and what sells the experience.

If you’re just out for a happy trip, you don’t want to be scolded into homework at the end. No one likes to take a trip and bring home a memento that reminds them that they are not expanding their minds enough. So I really can’t advocate for a gift pack of Euclid’s Elements — though there are some great geometry puzzles that would make great gifts. The Science Museum does have a great book section and a lomography section and Technology Will Save Us shelves. When I was there last, they had someone demonstrating paper gliders.

I don’t expect science museums to check their impulse to cater to their audience any time soon. I just hope they can do more to indulge people’s desire to think about things. I will now stop ranting and leave you with the instructions for making your own lava lamp.

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2 Comments so far
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OMG! I LOVE lava lamps and when I say that, people look at me like I’m a weirdo. The science store here has items from around the world. Steve Spangler science kits, http://www.jumpstart.com CDs, diet coke and mentos stations. AND lava lamps, of course. I agree with what you say though, there HAS to be more variety! I like the idea of geometry puzzles. I do hope the universe listens to you though.

Comment by Susan Smith

Susan,

Thank you for your encouraging comment. Thanks also for the link to the Jumpstart site.

Comment by smallstreams




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