Presenting the Molecularium
A new show from the Rensselaer nanotech center lets kids explore the world of atoms and molecules
Traditional planetarium shows take us on a virtual tour of stars, planets and galaxies: the outer universe. But recently, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute premiered its new Molecularium show, a state-of-the-art, computer-generated animation that takes its viewers on a virtual tour of the inner universe—the atoms and molecules that constitute our world.
Developed for children in grades K-3, and designed for a planetarium setting, the 20-minute show follows Oxy, Hydro, Hydra and Carbón—a cast of characters based on atoms—as they explore this inner universe. Their atomic-scale views of phenomena such as the melting of ice are based on real molecular dynamics calculations.
The Molecularium project, which was developed under a special grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), is part of the educational and outreach program of Rensselaer’s NSF-funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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