Alan Bishop, principal associate director for science, technology and engineering at LANL, introduces two new exhibits at the Bradbury Science Museum during Friday’s grand opening event. Photo by Kirsten Laskey
Friday night may have featured overcast skies and rain showers but the gloomy weather did not dampen the atmosphere at the Bradbury Science Museum, which was set aglow by two new, innovative exhibits.
The displays touch on hot topics in the science world: alternative energy and nanotechnology. Therefore, the museum extended its hours Friday and invited the public to the grand opening of these exhibits.
Attendees were first introduced to the exhibit, “Algae to Biofuels: Squeezing Power from Pond Scum,” which highlights the work being done at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), New Mexico Consortium (NMC), the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University.
Dr. Jose Olivares. Photo by Kirsten Laskey
Dr. Jose Olivares, division leader of LANL’s bioscience division, along with Dr. Richard Sayre of LANL and NMC, conceived the algae biofuel exhibit. Olivares explained that there is a real need to find alternative energy sources. He added, “Bio-energy from bio-mass can be ones of those sources.”
Algae, according to a press release, is set to eclipse all other biofuel energy sources because it is the cheapest, easiest and most environmentally-friendly way to produce liquid fuel.
“Nanotechnology-The Science of the Small” was also presented to attendees. It focuses on the work by LANL’s Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT).
David Morris. Photo by Kirsten Laskey
David Morris, director of CINT, said nanotechnology is fairly new, adding that “nanoscience and nanotechnology is incredibly broad. Everyone from chemists to engineers contributes to nanoscience.“
The exhibit touches on “some of the very specific challenges working at a nano scale. It takes specific tools to handle these things; it take specific techniques to work with these things,” Morris said.
Excitement for this science is also visible in the exhibit. “It’s a very exciting time,” he said.
The enthusiasm was contagious; several members of public commented on the new exhibits. “I’m a biologist so I’m thrilled with the potential of algae to solve some of the pollution problems,” David Johnson said. Elizabeth Hong-Geller said, “It’s amazing; we always like to teach the kids science.”
Bruce Kennedy would like to the see the exhibits travel so more people can be educated. He explained both displays cover two important areas and sending them across the country would not only inform the public about their importance but garner support.
His wife, Peggy, agreed. “I’ve learned a lot already,” she said.