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Science Centre

The Science Centre and the current Biotechnology Room

Delft University of Technology contains its own technology museum, Science Centre Delft , where you can discover what science and technology mean for the society. The museum is mainly based on primary school children who can experience technique issues in a playful and experimental way.

The Science Centre has a biotechnology room in which movies about micro-organisms, made by the previous TU Delft iGEM team 2010 , are shown. Furthermore, the room contains a flow cabinet and a laboratory table, which is used for workshops during the weekend. On one wall microscopic pictures from micro-organisms are displayed and on another a quote. Because we think biotechnology is so much more then this, we decided to contact the Science Centre to see what we could do to make the room more attractive for children to enter and to let them discover a world of little animals which can not be seen by the naked eye.

The Ideas

We had several appointments with Michael van der Meer and Liesbeth van Hees of the Science Centre to discuss the possibilities and to show them our ideas. During our first appointment Michael van der Meer told us that we could basically do everything we wanted: we had to be creative! We therefore came up with a couple ideas. We wanted to make a plastic microscope with a round eyepiece of 30 cm and a zoom button on the side. This eyepiece is a circular touch screen on which a number of different microbes are depicted. A few applications are:

- find specific information on a specific microbe after you clicked on it
- increase the number of microbes on the screen and learn more about their cell division
- select a micro-organism in which you are interested and grow a pure culture
- choose a microbe which has an advantage over another microbe by selection

Besides the microscope we had the idea to make a competitive video game in which children learn to importance of “good micro-organisms”. There is a general trend that people are more familiar with “bad micro-organisms” and think that all micro-organisms are harmful. But there are so many microbes which are important for us and we think that it is important children know at an early age about their existence. To represent synthetic biology in this room, we want to develop a game in which children can design their own microbe. Moreover, since we have a chemistry student in our team and the chemistry faculty is not represented in the Science Centre, we want to show some visual attractive, chemical experiments in the flow cabinet. We also had the ideas of a ceiling projection and a movie about good versus bad micro-organisms, since this is the theme of our human pratice part.

Current Status and Finishing

In the following meetings we had with Liesbeth van Hees we developed the idea of how the biotechnology room eventually would look like. (On the photos the current state of the room is shown) Due to several considerations, of course not all our ideas could be implemented.
On the one hand, we would improve the facilities that were already there and on the other, we would implement some new facilities. We would make a construction on the laboratory table where we could put glassware with chemicals on. In this way, the room looks more like the laboratories in which we daily work. We would also make shelves on the wall on which we could put laboratory glassware. The come below the quote that is on the wall. We will change the quote by a quote from a recent, Delft researcher, so also the quote is in the style of the Science Centre. Since not all the names of the micro-organisms on the wall with microscopic pictures are correct, we would improve the captions. Furthermore, we will make our own movies about good versus bad micro-organisms and add them to the movies of the TU Delft 2010 iGEM team.

Besides these improvements of facilities already present in the room, we also are going to add new facilities. We will put two digital microscopes with dry stained preparations on the laboratory table, so the children can see the bacteria themselves and learn how to work with a microscope. In the windowsill, we will place agar plates with Photobacter phosphorenses in a view box to make it dark around the plates. The children can the see the light the luminous bacteria emit. We will also put a working fermentor in the flow cabinet to enhance the idea of a real laboratory and to give the children an idea of how it looks. Furthermore, we will project a movie about different living micro-organsims in the ceiling to make the room more exiting.

At the moment we’re working, together with the Science Centre, on the realization of the above mentioned ideas. However, just like research, this takes time…Unfortunately we cannot post photos yet on the “new” Biotechnology Room. However, as soon as we realized all the plans, we’ll post photos of the new Biotechnology Room, so please keep visiting us for the latest updates!