CA -- Los Angeles -- Exposition Park -- California Science Center:
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SCICEN_110725_014.JPG: They're showing the value of a pulley. This family will lift up this 5,400 pound vehicle.
SCICEN_110725_064.JPG: Sea of Clouds
by Ned Kahn
What's going on?
Fog is a vapor of tiny water droplets. Like the slow, turbulent churning of fog in a valley, the movement of the fog in this cauldron has complex dynamics, constantly changing in a sea of wisps, waves, and other patterns. Even if you don't disturb this fog, air currents in the room continue to affect the motion of the water droplets.
SCICEN_110725_076.JPG: Gemini 11 space capsule
SCICEN_110725_118.JPG: This heat shield protected Gemini 11 as it came back to Earth after nearly three days in orbit.
During reentry, fiction with the atmosphere heated the shield, made of fiberglass and resin, up to 1,900 degrees Celsius (3,500 degrees Fahrenheit). The outer surface vaporized from a solid to a gas. As it burned away, it carried away heat. You can see the carbon residues left behind.
SCICEN_110725_121.JPG: Mercury-Redsone 2 Capsule
This is the original Mercury-Redstone 2 capsule, launched for a 17-minute flight on January 31, 1961, with a chimpanzee named Ham as a passenger. We've removed some of the siding so you can see inside, and we've encased the capsule in plastic for protection.
SCICEN_110725_133.JPG: It's interesting how low-tech some of the parts are, including the wooden holder.
SCICEN_110725_221.JPG: Al-Jazari's Elephant Clock:
Without today's accurate digital and mechanical clocks, the pace of modern life would seem impossible. But over 800 years ago, inventors were already developing sophisticated clocks to keep track of time. Celebrated engineer Al-Jazari, from southern Turkey, designed clocks of all shapes and sizes, completing his Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices in 1206.
Al-Jazari's Elephant Clock was a masterpiece celebrating the diversity of humankind, its moving parts were automated using a water-powered timer inspired by an Indian mechanism known as ghatika. Combined with this were an Egyptian phoenix, Greek hydraulic technology, Chinese dragons, an Indian elephant and mechanical figurines in Arabian dress. The clock cleverly reflected cultural and technological influences from across Muslim civilization, from Spain to China.
Every half hour, the timer would set off a series of sounds and movements. A ball rolls from the top of the clock, turning an hour dial, while the Scribe and his pen turned automatically to show the minutes past the hour.
Did you know?
Al-Jazari was a highly creative and innovative engineer, and his crowning achievement was the combination of the crank wheel, connecting-rod and piston system which converts rotational motion to linear -- crucial to pumps, engines and many other machines.
SCICEN_110725_235.JPG: Piri Reis Map:
Drawn by 16th-century Turkish naval captain Piri Re'is, this is the oldest-surviving detailed map showing the Americas. To make it, he used Arab and Portuguese maps, along with one of Christopher Columbus's own maps, now lost.
SCICEN_110725_244.JPG: The Cutting Edge:
Scalpels and knives, saws and scrapers, drills and forceps. The tools of surgery have changed surprising little over the last thousand years. In 10th-century Spain a surgeon called Al-Zahrawi, known in the West as Albucasis, developed and used many of the instruments we still know today, writing up his findings in a medical encyclopedia called Al-Tasrif.
Al-Zahrawi's book was the first to illustrate surgical instruments. He introduced over two hundred tools showing sketches of their form and describing how and when each one should be used. Although surgery was still dangerous and painful, suitable tools would have helped to treat patients suffering from bone diseases, tumours, bladder stones and wounds, as well as assisting in childbirth.
Did you know?
Al-Zahrawi's surgical drill was improved in the 12th century by a Spanish physician who added a diamond on the tip.
SCICEN_110725_250.JPG: Ancient Surgery:
How do we know the kinds of illnesses and treatments that people experienced ten centuries ago? Much detailed information is recorded in books by Al-Zahrawi, a surgeon and scholar who lived in Cordoba at the height of Muslim civilization. He wrote full accounts of dental and surgical techniques, as well as the medicines doctors prescribed.
Al-Zahrawi's descriptions of correcting dislocated shoulders, of setting broken bones in plaster-casts, replacing missing teeth with replicas and trying to treat cancers, all sound very familiar today. In a typically sensitive gesture, he designed a knife with a concealed blade intended to calm nervous patients. This combination of bedside manner and innovative approach earned him the role of court physician to the ruler of Muslim Spain.
Did you know?
Al-Zahrawi was the first person to use catgut systematically in surgery, which surgeons still use today in stitching internal incisions.
SCICEN_110725_251.JPG: Treating Cataracts:
The era's most important contribution to the study of the eye was in the treatment of cataracts. A scholar called Al-Mawsili, from Iraq, wrote in his Book of Choices in the Treatment of Eye Diseases about how to tackle this clouding of the eye's lens, which causes gradual blindness. He invented and made a hollow needle which he could insert into the eye to suck out the cataract. This technique is still part of the way cataracts are treated today.
Did you know?
One of the earliest pioneering eye doctors was Ali ibn Isa, who wrote the Notebook of the Occulist in the 10th century. It covered 130 eye diseases and was translated into Latin.
SCICEN_110725_258.JPG: Meet Al-Jazari:
Clocks, robots, cranks, and gears -- Al-Jazari was fascinated by every kind of mechanism. He described fifty machines in his treatise "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices." This encyclopedic writing, commissioned by the king for whom Al-Jazari worked, and completed in 1206, now gives us a record of an engineer who loved both the spectacular and the useful.
Al-Jazari, whose full name is Badi' al-Jaman Abu al-'Izz Isma'il ibn al Razzaz al-Jazari, designed elaborate clocks that incorporated mechanisms from across the world. He developed the first robotic devices powered by water, even experimenting with automatic machines to assist Muslims in the required washing before prayer-times. Al-Jazari lived in a period in which machines helped improved people's quality of life. In his work, he built on the ideas of his predecessors and referred to their works. But perhaps his greatest legacy is the invention of the combination of a 'crank and connecting-rod' system crucial to pumps and engines.
SCICEN_110725_265.JPG: The Rise of Domes:
From the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and the Taj Mahal in Agra, some of the world's most memorable buildings are roofed with domes. The Byzantines and Persians were the first to build great domes. But as Muslim architects adopted and improved upon them, their popularity and diversity increased.
SOmes appealed to many Muslim building-designers. To them, they symbolized the vault of heaven, and the overarching power of God. In mosques, a dome could emphasize a significant area of the building such as the mihrab, a niche in one of the walls indicating the direction of Mecca. Domes appear on churches, palaces, and public buildings as well as mosques, taking different shapes reflecting the local culture.
Onion-shaped domes are well known today in Russian Orthodox churches and were particularly popular throughout the Mughal Empire in India. In the mid-17th century, Sir Christopher Wren drew consciously on Muslim influences when he designed St Paul's Cathedral in London, with its combination of dome and towers.
SCICEN_110725_268.JPG: Spreading New Ideas:
How much did the architecture of Muslim civilization influence other cultures? In the domes, arches and towers of buildings across the world, we see strong echoes of ideas that developed and grew in Muslim lands. Travel and trade increased the interchange between nations, spreading new architectural ideas through fashion or because they offered practical ways for constructing larger or stronger buildings.
But ideas also spread via other routes. The Normans, as they conquered areas of Europe, encountered Muslim architecture in Sicily, resulting in the emergence of a distinctive Gothic style. Because of high-profile marriages such as that of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile in 1254, English architects at court came to known and adopt Muslim architectural ideas into royal chapels and palaces.
One of the best examples of combined influences was in the Mudejar architecture of Spain. The Muslim Andalusians who remained in Christian territory, but did not convert, developed a striking blend of Muslim, Jewish and Christian styles that reflected the cultures living side-by-side in the 12th century until the 16th.
SCICEN_110725_272.JPG: Gothic Style:
Gothic architecture refers to the style of building often adopted for great European cathedrals, abbeys and castles built from the 12th century onwards. Architects adopted pointed arches, ribbed vaults and flying buttresses to create impressive and lofty buildings intended to inspire awe. Although the Gothic style owed much to Roman and Byzantine design, was there also a strong influence from Muslim civilization?
Some experts say yes -- and their view is one with which the famous 17th-century architect Sir Christopher Wren certainly agreed. He admired Ottoman and Andaiusian buildings and developed his 'Saracenic Theory' to describe the influence of Muslim design on Gothic architecture, noting its lightness and delicacy, and the extravagance of the patterns and ornamentation.
SCICEN_110725_278.JPG: Through the Rose Window:
Rose windows are the beautiful circular stained-glass windows in many old cathedrals and churches in Europe. But who first built this style of window? Some historians link rose windows with the circular skylights seen in Roman buildings like the Pantheon. This type of opening, called an oculus, meaning eye in Latin, allows light to flood a space.
But there may be another explanation for the rose window's design. Although round windows were popular in ancient Roman and Byzantine Empires, some experts trace the more decorative rose windows to architecture in Muslim civilization. Six-petalled rosette windows appear in the walls of the 8th-century Khirbat al-Mafjar Palace in Jordan, for example. This magnificent palace has highly sophisticated mosaics and elaborate stucco carvings. Crusaders and travellers would have seen its patterned windows and taken the ideas back to Europe.
Did you know? Some experts believe European rose windows originated with the rosette and octagonal windows of the 8th-century Khirbat al-Mafjar Palace in Jordan.
SCICEN_110725_296.JPG: Number Crunching:
Numbers are second nature in so much of life, it's hard to imagine they could ever have been different. But today's numerals have a long history. In early Muslim civilization, people used various types of arithmetic. Traders made calculations using their fingers, writing out the results in words. Astronomers, meanwhile, used the ancient Babylonian sexagesimal number system based on the number 60, which is still used for angular measurement row.
These two traditions were eventually overtaken by the method that we still use today. Developed from an ancient Indian system, the new numbers were known as Arabic numerals and were decimal (based around the number ten). From the 10th century, Muslim scholars refined the numerals into those we now recognize, along with the very useful 'zero', helping to create the system in which the value is defined by position. The system spread across Europe via scholars who visited the Muslim world, or who assisted in translating some of the key mathematical works from Arabic into Latin, and then into various European languages.
Astronomers in Muslim civilization used the ancient Babylonian mathematical system that relied on base 60. This is the number 424,000.
SCICEN_110725_300.JPG: Gorgeous Geometry:
From the structure of a shell to the layout of seeds in a sunflower, mathematical rules often underlie the patterns we see around us. Such links between science and nature fascinated early Muslim scholars. They transformed ancient ideas about geometry, exploring interconnected shapes, lines, points and angles -- and in turn influencing many aspects of art and architecture.
From the early 9th century, Arabic geometry developed into a sophisticated pursuit. While it was practically useful for surveyors and architects, geometry had its most obvious impact on design. Geometry governed many of the designs we now associate with Muslim civilization, from complex domes and arches to the tile mosaics used to decorate a palace or a mosque's walls, and the swirling repeated patterns on carpets, furniture and textiles.
Did you know? Shells, plants and flower-petals are often arranged according to the golden ratio, a pleasing geometric relationship between mathematical measurements.
SCICEN_110725_303.JPG: Algebra and Abstract Maths:
The word algebra comes from the title of the book "Al-Jabr wal Muqubalah" by the scholar Al-Khwarizmi. He put algebra on a secure footing in the early 9th century while working in the House of Wisdom, the intellectual powerhouse of its day.
Al-Khwarizmi's successor Al-Karaji developed and refined these ideas, eventually starting an algebraic tradition that thrived for hundreds of years. These scholars and others developed the basis of abstract mathematical thought on which much of modern-day computing relies.
SCICEN_110725_305.JPG: Three-Cornered Calculations:
What is the Earth's circumference? How can we predict the movement of the planets? Scholars in early Muslim civilization had many such questions -- and they knew that trigonometry held the answers. The ancient Greek mathematicians had developed ways to calculate unknown sides and angles of triangles to explain the movement of the Sun and Moon. Prompted by the need to find the direction of Mecca for prayers, Muslim scholars went further.
Long before electronic calculators with in-built functions for sine, cosine, and tangent, scholars were working out tables of trigonometric values. In the earth 9th century, Al-Khwarizmi constructed tables that could help complete missing values in astronomical tables that define the locations of stars. Al-Battani accurately described the use of trigonometry to explain the planets' movements in the 10th century. Al-Biruni developed a trigonometric equation to predict the circumference of the Earth defined in the first half of the 11th century, building on ideas from India where he lived.
One of the greatest Muslim scholars, Al-Biruni used trigonometry to work out a figure for the Earth's circumference -- arriving at a number very close to the accepted value today.
SCICEN_110725_320.JPG: Star Gazing:
A lion, a lamb, a pair of twins... since the beginning of time, people have seen patterns in the stars and told stories about them. The 2nd-century Greek astronomer Ptolemy recorded 48 constellations in his 'Great Book," the Almagest. The constellations include many we still recognize today, like Virgo, Aries, and Capricorn.
In the 10th century, the Persian astronomer Al-Sufi wrote his famous Book on the Constellations in which he gave Arabic names to stars in the 48 classical star patterns. As well as including Ptolomy's coordinates for each star, he made his own observations on their positions, brightness, colour and size.
Al-Sufi's book was translated into Spanish in the 13th century, and then into Italian. Its influence on 16th-century Western astronomers is clear in the Arabic names they used for many stars. Until the 17th century, Al-Sufi's data continued to appear in Arabic script on celestial globes in Europe.
Did you know? In his book, Al-Sufi included two drawings of each constellation, one as seen from Earth and another as if seen from outside the sphere of the heavens, with stars and constellations set on it.
SCICEN_110725_323.JPG: Star Signs:
Early star-gazing traditions are reflected in today's astronomical names. Many of the 88 modern constellations take their names from ancient Greek legends like Hercules the hero. Orion the hunter, and Pegasus the winged horse. Similarly, over 160 stars are still known by their Arabic names -- from Leo's Denebola, from the Arabic dhanab for 'the lion's tail,' to Virgo's Azimech, meaning 'the undefended.'
There are many more: the brightest star in Taurus is the orange-coloured Aldebaran, named after the Arabic phrase for 'the follower.'
Five main stars form the W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia. Several of its star-names have Arabic roots, including Schedar, from sadr, meaning 'breast' in Arabic, and Caph, from kaff, meaning 'stained hand.' To astronomers of the Muslim world, Cassiopeia resembled the hand stained with henna.
Aries was known in Arabic as Hamal meaning 'the young ram', while the Andromeda constellation takes its name from the princess in the Greek legend of Perseus. In Arabic, it is called al-Mar'a al-Musalsala, meaning 'the chained lady.'
Did you know? The 10th-century Persian astronomer Al-Sufi was the first astronomer to mention the Andromeda galaxy, calling it the 'little cloud.'
SCICEN_110725_336.JPG: All Around the World:
People had accepted that the Earth was spherical since ancient Greek times, and Muslim scholars made detailed measurements of the globe. In the 9th century, Caliph Al-Ma'mun commissioned his astronomers to determine the Earth's circumference, which they did to within 125 miles of today's figure. Al-Biruni, an 11th-century scholar, measured terrestrial longitudes and latitudes and even gained funding from a religious charity to assess the Earth's circumference.
Al-Idrisi, who made famous maps in the 12th century, drew the known continents on a circular map, and made a large, silver planisphere for his patron the Norman king of Sicily. By his calculations, the Earth's circumference was 22,900 miles at the equator, about ten per cent adift from the modern figure. He also wrote about the hemispheres of the Earth, its climatic zones, the seas and gulfs.
SCICEN_110725_346.JPG: Meet Abbas Ibn Firnas:
9th-century scholar Abbas ibn Firnas is said to be the first person who tried to fly. His first attempt, which has passed into legend, took place when he leapt from the minaret of the Great Mosque in Cordoba. Equipped with a glider stiffened with wooden struts, he managed to fly and landed more-or-less unharmed.
Abbas ibn Firnas's next flight was more ambitious. From the top of a nearby hill, he launched himself and his flying machine, apparently gliding for some distance before falling, a problem he blamed on the lack of a tail.
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Wikipedia Description: California Science Center
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The California Science Center (sometimes spelled California ScienCenter) is a state agency and museum located in Exposition Park, Los Angeles. Billed as the West Coast's largest hands-on science center, the California ScienCenter is a public-private partnership between the State and the California Science Center Foundation.
Formerly known as the California Museum of Science and Industry, the Museum was remodelled in 1998 as the California Science Center. Currently it consists of the IMAX Theater, the Sketch Foundation Gallery - Air and Space Exhibits (formerly Aerospace Hall) and the Science Center itself.
Vehicles on Display:
Vehicles on display at the California Science Center as of July 2007 include:
- Lockheed A-12 Oxcart Serial Number 60-6927
- Capsule for Gemini 11
- Apollo-Soyuz Test Project Command Module
- Capsule for Mercury-Redstone 2 which carried Ham the Chimp into space
- Replica Bell X-1 (movie prop from The Right Stuff)
- Engineering prototype for Viking Lander
In 1997, the Museum decided on a long-term renovation and transformation of its role from a science museum to a science education facility. This new facility would be known as the California Science Center. The master plan for this facility would be executed in three phases:
* Redesign of the main building (Howard F. Ahmanson building).
* Science Plaza - Exhibits outside the main entrance.
o World of Life - Explores the science of life in five galleries.
o Creative World - Highlights technology in transportation, communications and structures. Features include a virtual reality exhibit where you can play sports using virtual reality, an earthquake simulator and other exhibits.
o Special Exhibits gallery - Exhibits in this room have included a Titanic exhibit, a magic exhibit, a toy exhibit, and the widely known human body exhibit.
o ExploraStore - Store specializing in scientific and educational items.
* IMAX theater - Seven-story IMAX screen, largest in Los Angeles.
* New parking structure with surrounding gardens.
* Renovate the historic Armory building into the new Science Center School and Amgen Center for Science Learning.
* Air and Space Gallery renovation.
* World of Ecology - (est. 2009).
* Worlds Beyond - Planned.
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