Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Science of Change

Science is an intriguing subject - ever that quest for an answer, leaving mystery only permission for temporary residency. Today in The Living Room, it felt we were in Science class. Despite not having any open flames over bunsen burners or instrusive vernier calipers, three quarters of our chat was related directly and indirectly to the subject.

Andrew Melia warmed the couch after the 10 o'clock news. The senior science educator at Science Centre Singapore was on the show to shed light on the cloak of partial darkness to be cast on the surface of our planet this Friday afternoon. Singaporeans can join many in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East in witnessing the first annular eclipse of the new decade. While preparing for the interview, I caught myself for having misunderstood the word 'annular' to mean 'annual'. What would I do without Wiki?! Now all we've got to do is to hope for a cloudless day to be able to fully appreciate the darkening of the skies by around 20 to 30% when the eclipse is at its peak at about 4.25pm. If you're planning to catch it, never stare at the sun with the naked eye. Make sure you put some 'clothes' on, like the cool-looking solar glasses we're wearing. Don't we look like X-Men characters?! But trust me, we were totally blind in those glasses as they're only good for looking at the sun!

The sun's truly been shining on Science Centre Singapore. More than 14 years ago, a man assumed the post of Chief Executive. He was Dr Chew Tuan Chiong, green and who admitted to almost having lost his job just days into his new office when it concerned the hosting of a head of state at the facility's motion simulator. But what wasn't simulated was the centre's expansion. We're not talking about just the facilities or volume of activities, but a two-fold increase in the visitorship! How's that for signs that the centre truly had a visionary leader?

Dr Chew relinquishes his post this Friday with what we hear are plans to enter the real estate industry. The trained engineer doesn't look at it as 'throwing in the towel' as he will still maintain ties with the national institution that doubles up as both an educational establishment and a tourist attraction.

He is convinced that the Science Centre is and will remain "one of the most potent media we have, to get a child to like science, and to like learning as a whole". We're going to miss this man and wish him much success in his future undertakings.

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