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Carnegie Science Center opens doors for ’21+ Night’ event

By Yas Hatcher

Point Park News Service

Young adults are invited to discover the many animals living in the coral reef through a 2000 gallon ecosystem in the SeaScape exhibit.

They can explore the how’s and why’s of science concepts such as magnetic forces, lasers and sound through hands on activities in the Exploration Station.

Demonstrations teaching adults how glass is shaped, colored, and torched into art pieces through discussions and a presentation titled “The Art and Science of Glass”.

These are among the events scheduled as part of a partnership between the Carnegie Science Center and the Pittsburgh Glass Center for the “Art and Science of Glass” themed 21+ Night event, that allow young adults to experience their inner child. “We have always wanted to partner with the Carnegie Science Center because glass art and science go hand-in-hand,” explains Paige Ilkanipour.

The adults only event scheduled on Friday, Nov. 9 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., allows adults to enjoy live music, explore exhibits, and gain knowledge of process of glass sculpting through watching flamework demonstrations. This is  only the second 21+ Night event hosted by the Science Center. “We got such good feedback from our first event, back in August and were told that we need to do the event more often,” said Zimecki, Director of Marketing and Community Affairs at the Carnegie Science Center. “People really seemed to enjoy themselves.”

Attendees will venture around the Carnegie Science Center at night, interacting with the many exhibits from the Forces and Motion Trio, which allows visitors to arrange a series of track sections to design their own roller coaster, to the Ring Launcher, where visitors run a current of electricity through a wire coil causing a magnetic pulse to shoot a steel ring in the air.

“We understand that most times, when visiting, adults spend much of their time tending to the children they brought, and don’t really get the chance to explore the place themselves and be a kid again,” said Zach Weber. He explains that very few adults get an opportunity to touch and interact with the exhibits as much as they would want to when visiting with children.

Susan Zimecki and her team made notice that adults were not enjoying their experience as much as they could have been.“We began to notice parents and adults in general would have the same sense of excitement about science on their faces as the children did, but would often be stand-offish because they didn’t want to elbow an eight year old to get to an exhibit,” she said.

Weber explained that most of the exhibits excite adults in the same way as children. “It’s great to see the adults having fun and being a kid again while playing in the ball pit or even a little splashing in the water table,” said Weber.

Mike Hennessy, Program Developer at the Carnegie Science Center will demonstrate and discuss the science in melting glass and other similar items that are often melted down to create other products. These materials such as glass and aluminum are melted at 2000 degrees.

In addition, Bob Greer, Flameworker Artist from the Pittsburgh Glass Center will create sculptures and holiday ornaments with a torch throughout the night. “Bob worked as a scientific glass blower for 49 years and frequently demonstrates making holiday ornaments at Pittsburgh Glass Center, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and at local craft shows,” explains Paige Ilkanipour, Marketing Director at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. Greer will also demonstrate and talk about the process of flameworking. “He uses a glass called ‘Borosilicate’, that is otherwise known as Pyrex,” said Ilkanipour. Greer will twist and twirl molten glass with his torch, in order to create his art pieces.

In case the excitement of exploring the “Art and Science of Glass” works up an appetite, a cash bar and snack bar will be available to attendees during the night’s event. They will have the opportunity to purchase adult mixed drinks and various snack foods. The last 21+ Night at the Science Center offered nachos, hot dogs and cookies to name a few items. They plan to offer similar items during the Nov. 9 event.

Weber, Program Presenter at the Carnegie Science Center for the last two years, agrees that with exhibits to view and interact with, ranging from the PinBell Table that allows visitors to arrange metal pieces to play a tune when a steel ball is released, to the Science in a Scoop exhibit, exploring the chemistry of ice cream, there is something to interest everyone at the Science Center. “The Carnegie Science Center has so much to offer people of all ages,” Weber said.

He went on to explain that the four floors of the building will be open to the attendees to enjoy the night of the event, with the exception of  the miniature rail road and Sports Works Complex during the event.  “Adults can definitely enjoy it too.”

Zimecki believes the power of exploring and learning never fades away, regardless of age. “There’s something about learning by doing that gets people excited.” She attributes the reason behind the appeal of the Science Center to this. “When it comes to learning and science, as an adult you still get the same sense of excitement and wonder that you did as a kid.”

People can register for the event through the Carnegie Science Center’s website (carnegiesciencecenter.org/calendar).  Admission is $10 if paid in advance and $15 at the door. For an additional charge, attendees can design and take home their own glass tile piece. It is an additional $25 charge if paid in advance, and $30 if paid for the day of the event.

Although this is only the second Carnegie Science Center 21+ Night, it will not be the last. The Science Center will give adults that chance to be a kid again more often by hosting a 21+ Night once a month starting in January of 2013. “Anyone who attends The Art & Science of Glass 21+ Night will have a fun evening and an eye-opening and educational experience about the art and science of glass,” said Ilkanipour.

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