Quantum Foundation Brings Science On A Sphere To SFSM

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(WEST PALM BEACH, FL) The South Florida Science Museum will heighten its “wow factor” when its expansion is complete later next year, thanks to a generous gift from the Quantum Foundation. According to Lew Crampton, South Florida Science Museum CEO, the Museum received a $240,000 grant from Quantum Foundation to support its Science on a Sphere exhibit – targeted to be part of the Museum expansion scheduled to open in early 2014.

The South Florida Science Museum is the only public museum for science, technology and natural history education in Palm Beach County. The newly expanded Museum will feature state of the art, hands-on exhibitions, including a new travelling exhibition hall to showcase top new exhibits, an expanded aquarium, and an interactive Everglades Adventure. Expansion construction started earlier this month, and the Museum will remain open during the entire construction timeframe.

According to Crampton, Science on a Sphere is a room-sized global display system that uses computers and videoprojectors to display planetary data onto a six-foot diameter sphere, similar to a giant animated globe. Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) developed Science on a Sphere as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth and Life system science to people of all ages.

“This unique exhibit will be the only full-sized Science on a Sphere exhibit in South Florida– another distinction that will set us apart from other science and nature centers,” said Crampton. “The innovative technology utilized in the Science on a Sphere is intended to educate multigenerational audiences about ongoing NOAA research being conducted at many laboratories and to inspire students so that they might consider scientific career paths.We are incredibly grateful to Quantum Foundation for recognizing the valuable influence this technology will have for our region.”

The Quantum Foundation is celebrating 15 years of making Palm Beach County a healthier place to live. With a mission to make the community a place where everyone has the opportunity to live healthy lives, regardless of their income, education or background, Quantum Foundation works to increase health care access, improve science and health education, and enhance the health care workforce.

“Quantum Foundation is committed to improving science education and showing students how exciting science can be while helping them grasp difficult concepts,” said Kerry Diaz, President and Trustee of Quantum Foundation. “This amazing Science on a Sphere exhibit gives children the perfect opportunity to do this and allows teachers from any school to use it as a tie-in to their curricula. It also means any child visiting with their class, family or friends can see that science is everywhere.”

Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere, which is used to explain sometimes complex environmental processes in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating. Historic and real-time information can be graphically displayed on the Sphere, clearly demonstrating important environmental issues on a global scale such as climate change, animal migration patterns, ocean currents, weather patterns and dispersion of potential contaminants.

According to Crampton, the Quantum gift kicks off the Museum’s $1.5 million capital campaign over the next 18 months to add quality exhibits and new visitor amenities to the current expansion plans.  In addition to Science on a Sphere, other interactive exhibits part of the capital campaign include an Everglades exhibit featuring aquatic tanks, an outdoor interpretive display and a simulated airboat ride; and a newly expanded Science and Nature path.

The South Florida Science Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to exciting curiosity and furthering the understanding and appreciation of science and technology. The Museum features more than 50 hands-on exhibits, a digital planetarium, fresh and saltwater aquariums, as well as natural history exhibitions. Each year the Museum welcomes more than 125,000 visitors and reaches more than 45,000 students through workshops at the Museum and outreach programs to local schools. The South Florida Science Museum is located at 4801 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach. To support the Museum’s capital campaign efforts, please reach Marcy Hoffman, development director, at (561) 370-7738 or mhoffman@sfsm.org, or visit the Museum’s website at www.sfsm.org for expansion and general information.