Have You Heard? Science Central Is Expanding

Museum Sees Science In The Round

Science Central’s executive director hopes to house the entire world in the unused section of his museum.

Or, more specifically, a 6-foot scale version of it.

If it can raise enough money, Science Central will install a system that would allow the public to see the earth’s surface, weather patterns and a host of other images on a sphere hanging in midair.

The sphere, first created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, would be the first of its kind in Indiana, according to Science Central Executive Director Martin Fisher.

On Thursday, Science Central announced that it was in the midst of a capital campaign to collect money for the project, which would be housed in the unused section of the 1929 powerhouse, now converted to an educational science museum.

The group has already collected $1.3 million of the $1.5 million needed to buy and install the sphere.

On Thursday, the AEP Foundation announced that it would give $500,000 toward the project, called “Science on a Sphere” – making it the largest donor to date. Ohio-based AEP is the corporate parent of Indiana Michigan Power.

During a news conference Thursday, Fisher thanked the group for its donation.

“It is truly an honor; I’m humbled,” he said. “This gives us a significant jump start. … If we are doing our jobs right, we will be producing a more scientifically literate population.”

Fisher said he was first introduced to Science on a Sphere at his previous museum, and he was struck by its technical abilities and its popularity with the public.

He said the sphere can be used to view real-time weather patterns, study the geography of Mars and learn about earthquakes, astrology and other topics.

Fisher said he’d like to start demolishing the unused parts of the building as soon as the museum reaches its funding goal.

At that point, he said, the sphere could be ready to go in about six months.

The current capital campaign is the museum’s first since the mid-1990s, Fisher said. He’s hoping individuals, as well as companies, come forward with donations.

During the news conference, Mayor Tom Henry, Parkview Health Chief Executive Officer Mike Packnett and others lauded the museum and thanked the AEP Foundation for making the gift.

They said that at a time when the region’s economic growth depends on a workforce skilled in science, technology, engineering and math, Science Central’s services are absolutely vital.

“We consider ourselves to be big supporters of this community,” said Paul Chodak III, president and chief operating officer of Indiana Michigan Power.

“Our employees and their families live here and work here. The mission of Science Central is so central to the future of our community.”

-Journal Gazette

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Categories: Entertainment, RIver North

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