Ångström Explanatorium inaugurated
12 maj 2022
The exhibition Ångström Explanatorium opened on the first floor of Building 1 of the Ångström Laboratory on 4 May. The interactive stands were thoroughly tested by visitors to the premiere. “It was great fun to test the Turing Machine, which I once read about in courses on logic,” enthused Johan Tysk, Vice-rector of the Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology.
At last, the exhibition could be opened to replace the previous Augusta Ångström Exhibition. Although after two decades of use by inquisitive school children and other visitors, the exhibition was long overdue a facelift, the overarching purpose remains the same: to arouse the curiosity of visitors – especially those in younger age groups – about physical, mathematical, chemical and engineering phenomena, something noted by Johan Tysk in his inaugural address.
“Every day, we read in the newspapers about the need for more mathematicians, scientists, civil engineers. But we will not increase their number by attracting young people at the age of 18; we must attract them before they reach their teens. This is therefore a vital activity for the faculty. That said, I believe that people of all ages will find this amusing.”
Project manager Petra Rossbäck Holst was in agreement.
“We are primarily targeting a young group of school children from middle school and upwards. But, of course, we hope that the exhibition will appeal to the curiosity and desire to experiment in all of us.”
QR codes lead to further information
All departments at the Ångström Laboratory had prepared exhibits for their own stands, with examples of research and science that visitors can feel, experience and explore. By scanning QR codes using their mobile phones, visitors can access further information from the exhibition’s website. Project manager Maria Carlander, currently on parental leave, said that there are also plans to produce more in-depth material for teachers and other interested parties.
Beatriz Nestares and Farshid Shadram of the Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering were standing at a stand on energy-efficient civil engineering. Together with Professor Joakim Widén, they had built models of six detached houses with various energy-saving solutions.
“We are keen to show different situations, such as whether the house has solar panels or whether or not it is connected to the national grid. Or a house that produces its own electricity using solar panels and has a hydrogen tank in the backyard, and so on. Then one can compare how much energy is required for different houses,” said Nestares.
There was also a historical section on the first floor with artefacts in glass cases and student assignments that will be replaced at regular intervals. Eric Stempels of the Department of Physics and Astronomy had mainly worked on the exhibition’s historical artefacts.
What should one consider if one wishes to attract both children and the general public to a historical exhibition?
“You should attempt to link [the exhibits] to the things around us. The Ångström Laboratory has a name, and this leads us to consider why it is so named, which is linked to where we are in the building today. There are instruments here that have been used in old experiments. Even today, we work with objects and build things that we are tasked with passing on. I hope that in a hundred years from now people can look back and say, ‘Aha, so that was what they were up to?’”
FACTS ABOUT THE ÅNGSTRÖM EXPLANATORIUM
The Ångström Explanatorium is an interactive exhibition in which visitors explore scientific and engineering phenomena. The exhibition also has a historical section with significant scientific and engineering inventions and artefacts. The Ångström Explanatorium is created in a collaboration between seven departments of Uppsala University: Physics and Astronomy; Electrical Engineering; Information Technology; Chemistry; Mathematics; Materials Science and Engineering; and Civil and Industrial Engineering. There is also a stand dealing with outer space which has been prepared by the Department of Physics and Astronomy in collaboration with the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) in Kiruna.
Ångström Explanatorium (NB: Site under construction)