By Jacob Dube?
As soon as you step foot in the bright entrance of the Ontario Science Centre (OSC), you know you’re going to learn something there, whether you like it or not. An old-style airplane is hung above your head, and Leo DiCaprio-narrated documentary posters are everywhere. It’s no wonder that they hosted Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition here, with Ryerson as the education partner.
The new exhibit allows guests to test out some of the experiments done on the popular Discovery Channel show, Mythbusters, for themselves.
The faculties of Science and Engineering and Architectural Science have partnered to host student-run activities that encourage hands-on scientific experimentation. The goal was to foster interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in students of all ages.
“This gave us a new audience. We like promoting STEM education and that was our venue,” said Nika Zolfaghari, engineering enrichment and outreach co-ordinator at Ryerson.
On Aug. 22, Ryerson hosted a friends and family day at the OSC, which featured games like Pin the Organs on the Human and an appearance by RamsBot, the basketball-shooting robot created by the Ryerson Rams Robotics Team unveiled earlier this year.
“We love taking science to the street. We love showing off science to everybody, to people interested in science, kids who maybe are wondering if they want to do science in the future. So it gives us an opportunity to connect and to demonstrate our science and how cool it is,” said Imogen Coe, dean of the faculty of science.
On Facebook, users were able to submit their own myths and experiments, and the science and engineering students would release videos busting or proving the theories.
“Anything we can do that’s kind of fun is a very worthwhile activity and certainly this Mythbusters [exhibit] is a lot of fun. You blow stuff up,” said Thomas Duever, dean of engineering and architectural science.
Elements from Mythbusters were scattered across the OSC. These include a dragon-headed machine gun that fires arrows and a giant mechanical shark that led guests toward the exhibit.
Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition begins with a room resembling the show’s warehouse, with junk from old projects everywhere — most notably Buster, the show’s famous test dummy.
The first interactive experiment is called “Tablecloth Chaos,” which involves pulling a tablecloth out from under a full dining set without dropping anything. It isn’t recommended to impress a first date.
After testing out how often bread falls butter-side up and how fast superheroes change in telephone booths, the highlight of the exhibit presents itself — a twice-a-day live presentation where two enthusiastic hosts get to shoot kids with paintball guns (with protection, of course) to test their reaction time as they try to evade the shot. The whole project is teeming with fun, and, as opposed to the rest of the OSC, not a single crying kid can be heard in the room. The exhibit runs until Sept. 13.