Science Happens

Tuesday 30 May 2006, 7:53 pm

Tuesday, May 30

Today we went to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. We didn't arrive there until after 1 pm, and it was recommended that we not try to see two movies and all the exhibits in only four hours. But Mary wasn't feeling too well, so the idea of sitting for a while in the IMAX movie theater appealed to her. We signed up for two movies: Magnificent Desolation (about moon exploration), and The Mystery of the Nile (about the first traversal of the complete Blue Nile from Ethiopia to the Mediterranean).

We also saw a presentation called Stars Over Pittsburgh, which presented a simulation of the night sky. The presentation showed how to locate and identify the various constellations visible during spring and summer in Pittsburgh.

The museum had a WWII submarine, the USS Requin, that you could go inside and explore. We were surprised at the ease with which we could move around, but the very small spaces provided for the sailors to sleep.

The museum had exhibits about the eye, color, prisms, sound, earthquakes, airplane wings and air pressure, among others. We did not see everything in the museum, but we were happy with what we were able to get to. The exhibits are really geared toward younger people, but they were still interesting to us old folks.

Pittsburgh has interesting geography. The Allegheny River flows in from the north, and combines with the Monongahela River, which flows in from West Virginia to the southeast, to form the Ohio River, which flows out to the west. Consequently, the city has lots of bridges over the rivers. Where the rivers come together, there is Point State Park, which we tried to get to, but we could not find parking nearby. I thought it would be fun to dip our ties into three large rivers at the same time.

The National Aviary, the Carnegie Science Museum, and two ball fields are in the North Shore area, north of all the rivers. The downtown area, the universities, and the "strip" are located between the Allegheny and the Monongahela. We also drove around near Frick Park and Squirrel Hill, a hilly area to the east of the universities. We got lost but eventually found our way to a freeway, and we were on our way to Harrisburg and the Amish country.