(From release) Sci-Quest, Hands-on Science Center is making waves with a new permanent exhibit called Electromagnetic Spectrum, sponsored and built by Dynetics. This new exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to learn much about the energy that emanates from outer space and surrounds them each day. Through hands-on stations at the exhibit, Dynetics shows that contrary to a common theory that only visible light arrives on Earth, we actually receive many types of energy.
Collectively, these types of energy make up a continuum of electromagnetic frequencies called the electromagnetic spectrum, explained Dr. Steve Gilbert, Dynetics co-founder and an expert on the topic. “So, when we see the sun, we are actually bathed in seven types of energy that are classified by their frequency,” he said. “But don’t worry – our sunscreen can protect us from all of these. Still, we should learn about these energy sources and their effects on our daily lives.”
Dynetics employees created Electromagnetic Spectrum to illustrate the seven frequencies that describe electromagnetic radiation. These frequencies are the means by which radiation, including gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet rays, visible light, infrared radiation, microwave radiation and radio waves, all share a common reference.
Although these appear to be abstract scientific concepts, the Dynetics exhibit, through its novel hands-on approach, brings understandable realism to these concepts in a way the whole family can enjoy. The exhibit does this by including a short range FM radio from which visitors can broadcast, a computer that tracks movements of visible objects, a display of solar-powered robots, and an infrared camera that takes photos of visitors which it emails to them. Dynetics designed this exhibit to excite adults and inspire children to learn more about the frequencies that are our “neighbors” in the world we inhabit, according to Gilbert.
The exhibit was an all-volunteer effort – conceived, designed and built by Dynetics employees in early morning planning meetings and late-night and weekend build sessions. Closely collaborating with Sci-Quest’s staff, Dynetics worked on the exhibit for more than two years. Andy Crocker, Propulsion Department Manager at Dynetics and Vice Chair of Sci-Quest’s Board of Directors, led the project and saw it as a perfect match from the beginning. “Dynetics and every person who worked on the exhibit believe in Sci-Quest and its mission to inspire a lifelong quest for discovery through education and interactive science. We know this exhibit supports that mission,” he said.
Dynetics is one of Huntsville’s leading science and engineering companies and regularly works on projects spanning the electromagnetic spectrum. The Electromagnetic Spectrum exhibit contributes to Sci-Quest’s mission to provide a workforce development link in all its education programs and hands-on exhibits, highlighting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers in the community.
“Dynetics is excited to support the mission of Sci-Quest by providing this hands-on exhibit. We are committed to helping enrich our community through projects like this. I’m grateful to our employees who have volunteered their time. They have represented Dynetics well, demonstrating that the capabilities at our company are as diverse as the exhibit they have created,” said Dr. Marc Bendickson, Dynetics CEO, and echoed by Dynetics President Tom Baumbach.
“Sci-Quest is very appreciative to Dynetics and all the volunteers who helped with this project, from the conception to the exhibit building. We know this new exhibit will give our visitors a one-of-a-kind experience, along with highlighting the science and technology that exists in our community. We look forward to working with Dynetics for many years to come,” said Cyndy Morgan, Sci-Quest executive director.
Electromagnetic Spectrum is on display now at Sci-Quest and is part of the permanent exhibits on the Science Center floor. Sci-Quest is open seven days a week: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about Sci-Quest and extended summer hours, visit www.sci-quest.org.