A group of children with curious eyes stared as the impact of air pressure was demonstrated to them. They watched with anticipation as one of them was inserted in a huge plastic bag and air was sucked out of the bag. The children clapped in awe and astonishment.
Subharata Chaudhuri, Director, Science City, Kolkata told BE, “These children are from the interiors of Sunderbans and come from socially marginalised communities. Even a few years back, mainstream life-style was a dream to them. Science City is undertaking these programmes where we are trying to reach out to those who are at the end of the crew.” He added, “We are collaborating with CRY. They bring 40 children every month and we arrange for their food and offer them a trip around this science park.” With these initiatives, Science City, Kolkata is living up to its motto of ‘Taking Science to Millions’.
Science City, Kolkata is an innovative initiative by the National Council of Science Museums under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Set up on July 1, 1997, the science park believes in promoting science literacy and awareness among citizens. The science park attempts to trigger a change and development in the community through percolation of science. The Science Exploration Hall covers an area of 5400 square metres and it provides an enquiry based learning to the visitors through edutainment. It offers a dark ride that showcases the evolution of life. The exposition comprises of 56 robotic animal models divided into seven sections to showcase the evolution of life and representation of life forms. Apart from the dark ride, panorama on human evolution and science is among the important attractions. With its iconic buildings, Science City has emerged into a major destination for the local population as well as the visitors from outside the city, accounting for an annual footfall of over 1.5 million.
Chaudhuri said, “The Space Theatre has undergone a com-plete renovation and we have started the 3D digital dome. It is a first of its kind in India where visitors will be able to see a complete 3D full dome theatre in a tilted dome.” With the help of active 3D projection technology, viewers will feel as if they are being transported into the scenes that are being viewed and the objects in projection will appear close enough to touch.
Chaudhuri informed, “We are also going to renovate the iconic Time Machine very soon. It will be replaced by a pair of motion simulators. Earlier, the audience used to stay inside a capsule but now they will be given 3D glasses and they will see the pictures popping out of the screen. We are planning to launch it in the first week of December and it is going to be the main attraction this winter.”
The science park has been taking environmental measures for a long time. Chaudhuri said, “We ensure to plant trees at any occasion, be it on someone’s retirement or someone’s transfer. Apart from this, to commemorate the 50th year of Earth Day on April 22, 2020, Science City is going to undertake a number of environmental programmes involving the citizens.”
Science on a Sphere is an effective educational tool that helps in illustrating the Earth’s dynamic processes for better understanding of the complex environmental process. “The installed system draws its data and information from NASA with one day lag,” said Chaudhuri. This state-of-the-art display system is located in the Dynamotion Hall in a specially designed and climatically controlled room which can accommodate approximately 70 visitors at a time.
Science City also provides convention facilities with a main and mini auditorium, a seminar and lecture hall complex, an exhibition space, a fair ground and others. The science park makes science learning fun and engaging.