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Opening of ASU's 'Hall of Science'
kicks off 'Week of Science' activities
Jan. 29, 2008 --
The lobbies of
buildings are normally spaces through which people pass to get where
they are going. In the Laboratory Sciences Center, East Wing at ASU, the
lobby is a destination unto itself.
On Monday, February 11, a new science exhibit, encompassing features
ranging from a porpoise skeleton to a meteorological station, will be
inaugurated in the Laboratory Sciences Center, East Wing.
Dr. Dan Howard,
Vice Chancellor for Academic
Affairs & Research, will officially open this display that showcases
of the ongoing scientific research and educational opportunities at
Among the unique features of this exhibit is the skeleton of a porpoise
that was stranded off the coast of Massachusetts and was subsequently
dissected and studied by ASU students. The exhibit also includes the
cast of the skull of a minke whale, and a marine aquarium with some 50
species of fish, corals and other invertebrates aimed at explaining the
new marine science program that is under preparation. A vivarium is also
on display, containing some live individual specimens of basiliscus, the
“Jesus Christ lizard,” so named because of its capabilities in walking
on the surface of water, and blind cave fishes. All these live animals
were bred in captivity to avoid any collecting and removing them from
their natural environments.
Other features on exhibition include current research on subjects as
varied as the ivory-billed woodpecker, flying squirrels, effects of
nicotine on the brain, and mine salamanders. Of special interest is an
exhibit on the recent documentary filmed by the BBC’s Sir David
Attenborough. This nature documentary, "Life in Cold Blood," contains
footage filmed in Arkansas, dealing with research conducted by ASU's Dr.
Stan Trauth, professor of zoology. A complete specimen of the American
alligator, “Big Arkie,” is also being exhibited.
Some exhibited material will also be available online. The data output
from a local seismograph and meteorological station will be displayed on
monitors in the lobby, as well as being fed to an
server for public access and study. This data will also be used by
researchers who are studying the New Madrid Fault Zone and by students
in climatology classes.
A major part of the exhibit is a selection of rocks and minerals from
the Karl Estes Mineral Collection. This massive collection was donated
to ASU last year by Estes's daughter, Brooke Estes, and includes
minerals that Karl Estes had collected from all over the world. On a
regular basis, minerals fitting a particular theme will rotate into the
display cases to show the rich diversity of specimens that can be found
In future, other additional features will include a DNA statue at the
entrance of the building and a prairie garden with native plants from
The opening of ASU's "Hall of Science" on Monday will be the first event
of a week-long celebration. The "Week of Science” at ASU will include
the showing of science-related movies, the celebration of the birthdays
of Galileo Galilei and Charles Darwin, and the release of high-altitude
This exhibit, a joint project of the Department of Biological Sciences
and the Department of Chemistry and Physics, has been almost an entire
year in preparation. At the cost of nearly $50,000, this science exhibit
has been fully funded by private donations and funds generated by the
university’s research activities.
For more information, including a schedule of exhibitions, contact the
ASU Dept. of Biological Sciences at
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