Science is cool

Knowledge : Science is cool

Anyone entering the “Max Planck Science Gallery” on Gendarmenmarkt in the center of Berlin will suddenly land in the future. Cool, colorful glow of LED colored surfaces, touchscreen screens and 3-D animations including a holographic avatar, plus spherical synthesizer sounds. Welcome to the future tense!

The Max Planck Society is dedicated to basic research in its institutes. In her Science Gallery she has shown a lot of what modern exhibition technology has to offer in terms of electronic gadgets. The show is an “accessible website,” says curator Andreas Trepte. "If you are interested in the future, you have to look at what is happening in the Max Planck Institutes today."

The first exhibition of the Science Gallery under the motto "Matters of the Heart" is dedicated to medical research. If you touch the virtual buttons on the screen, you get brief information on stem cells, dementia or disease-causing genes - all areas that researchers at Max Planck Institutes are working on.

Younger people are the main target group. You will have no problems finding your way around the digital presentation in a playful way. Science is cool, that's the message. The exhibition cannot and does not want to offer more than glancing lights; the presentation of the topics is as deep as a flat screen on the wall. “You don't have to understand everything you see in the show,” says Jörg Schmidtsiefen from the Berlin exhibition agency Archimedes, which set up the presentation. They want to stimulate, not provide comprehensive information.

There are no real objects in the exhibition. Research subjects in modern natural science often lie beyond what can be sensually experienced. Atoms, genes or bytes cannot be touched. But that's not the only reason. The entire show is fed from a data pool. A computer works behind the scenes of the exhibition and supplies the screens with content.

This has the advantage that the Science Gallery is shown in several locations at the same time and can be switched in or out at the push of a button. Different priorities are to be set every quarter, and controversial topics such as green genetic engineering or animal experiments are also discussed.

The Max Planck Society is breaking new ground with its presentation. The Science Gallery is therefore initially limited to two years. The initial investment was 1.5 million euros, the running costs are around 500,000 euros per year. Hartmut Wewetzer

Max Planck Science Gallery, Markgrafenstr. 37, 10117 Berlin, Mon-Wed, Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thu 10 a.m.-8 p.m., free admission. More information at www.max-planck-science-gallery.de

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