25 August marks the 200th anniversary of the death of inventor James Watt. To mark the occasion, we have invited a guest post by Debbie Rudder, an expert on Watt, to explore his life and scientific contributions.
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The Museum has so many wonderful toys in the collection. Looking through the collection online is a journey filled with memories, delightful surprises and the occasional stuff of nightmares. Toys send strong messages to kids about what they should be interested in and what they can aspire to.
Colonised Australia felt it had grown into an independent, and quite sexy young adult by the 1980s. The 1988 bicentenary was a celebration of all that Europeans had acheived in Australia in 200 years. It was also a year which benefited from the optimism of the Wran NSW Labor Government - which commissioned, among other public institutions and spaces, the ingeniously designed converted power station as the new home for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Ultimo, Sydney.
Almost exactly a year ago, the Museum was approached by Sydney start-up Cuberider with an unusual offer. In December 2016 Cuberider had launched Australia’s first ever payload to the International Space Station (ISS) – a Raspberry Pi computer used to run science experiments designed by high school students around the country.
The Experimentations exhibition opened in 1988 and has proved popular with our younger visitors ever since. Aimed at children aged 5-12 years, their parents, teachers and carers, the exhibition is designed to be an informal learning space that inspires curiosity and questioning, and allows visitors to play and experiment with materials and processes.
In early 1900, a sponge diver diving off the coast of Antikythera – a small Greek island between Crete and the Peloponnese – discovered the remains of an ancient, wrecked cargo ship. Dated to between 200 and 100 BCE, amongst the ship’s surviving contents of bronze and marble sculptures was a curious piece of rock with an embedded gear wheel.
Imagine life before smart phones, maybe you remember? What about before computers? Our computer technology looks a lot different today than it did in the past. It’s smaller, lighter, more powerful and a whole lot faster.
If you have been to a maker fair or school in the last few years, then you may have seen 3D printers in action. But when did this manufacturing technology first emerge and why was there so much hype? 3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing, where the object is created by laying down successive layers of building material until the desired form is reached.
Plutarch (b. 46 CE) tells the story of a man who plucks the feathers from a Nightingale and on finding nothing more than a scrawny body not worth eating, exclaims ‘You are a voice and nothing more.’ The power and potency of the voice, in this case, the human voice, is the focus of the exhibition This is a Voice which opened at the Powerhouse Museum on August 10.
While we wait eagerly to hear whether our colleagues from Sydney Observatory managed to catch a glimpse of yesterday’s total solar eclipse in the US – and quietly seethe with jealousy that we couldn’t be there ourselves (or is that just me?) – it seemed like the perfect opportunity to dig these amazing photographs out of our collection.
Happy National Science Week and Sydney Science Festival everyone! This week my science colleagues have taken over the blog to give you a bit more of an understanding about who we are and what we do. When people find out that I’m a science curator their next question is usually “so, what do you actually do?”.
It’s National Science Week! Tune in each day to meet MAAS’ science curators, discover objects from our wonderful science collection and find out what a science curator actually does in a day. Australia is no stranger to great inventions: from WiFi to Ultrasound scanners, solar cell technology to pacemakers, Australian scientists have been responsible for countless scientific advances that have changed the world for the better.