o The Frog Blog: Science Gallery's 'Magical Materials' is Wonderfully Magical

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Science Gallery's 'Magical Materials' is Wonderfully Magical

Science Gallery's latest exhibition kicked off today - an interactive exploration of the world's most mysterious substances. MAGICAL MATERIALS allows gallery visitors investigate the cutting edge of material science, experimenting with some of the world's most intriguing new plastics, alloys, fabrics and technologies.

The exhibition looks fantastic, having got a sneak peak earlier in the week. The interactive exhibits are divided into six categories - each with their own dedicated original super-hero! FLOROGIRL sees over the exploration of some of nature's amazing materials and their future applications, in DESIGNED BY NATURE. AERO explores how nanoscience is being used in wound treatment, sensor technology, medical imaging, self cleaning substances and air detoxifying solutions in CLEAN & CLINICAL. The FLEX over sees POWERFUL & PLIABLE, examining the latest materials that exhibit amazing strength, including graphene, which is 200 times stronger than steel. It also looks at  flexible phone and computer displays, printable batteries cells and lasers. HYDROGIRL examines the latest magic textiles, including super-hydrophobic (water repelling) materials and synthetic fabrics that can conserve body heat and promote increased blood circulation, in SMART CLOTHES. MORPH casts an eye over the SENTIENT MATERIALS exhibit, which allows visitors see and experiment with some of the most futuristic materials in the world. These include paints that can self heal, ferrofluids and memory plastics. Finally, my favourite super-hero NANOMAN (purely because he claims to have a suit made of carbon nanotubes - awesome) looks at the strongest and potentially most useful future materials. These materials exhibit extraordinary strength but also have some amazing properties, like superconductivity and thermal conductivity. INVINCIBLE & INVISIBLE also includes demonstrations of invisibility cloak technology, magnetic levitation and gold orb spider silk strength. 

MAGICAL MATERIALS may prove one of the most popular Science Gallery exhibitions. I think it has something really special and will appeal to kids of all ages. It should also prove popular with school groups, linking perfectly with CRANN's 'Nano in my Life' pack for Transition Year students. MAGICAL MATERIALS is the first collaboration between neighbours Science Gallery and CRANN, TCD's nanoscience research centre, which has contributed to Ireland's position near the top of the material science league tables. 

The exhibit launch coincides with the start of Nanoweek, a week long series of events to raise public awareness of the potential of nanoscience to improve our quality of life. Next week, Science Gallery hosts NanoScience 2012 Conference, an event bringing together "national and international speakers from the research and industrial communities, who will demonstrate how nanoscience research is impacting a range of industry sectors".

MAGICAL MATERIALS opened today in Science Gallery and will run until October 14th 2012 and, as always, is free to attend. Make sure to check it out - you won't be disappointed.