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The Brain Show 

By M.A. Boldurian

Opening January 7, 2000

It’s a perfect night for a scary 1950s sci-fi movie at the drive-in. You arrive as dusk descends to the gentle sounds of crickets and idling car motors. Just as you’re getting comfortable, "Run for the hills! The aliens are coming!" flashes on the screen. Before you can react a brain-shaped UFO screams off the theater screen and sucks you aboard! 

What’s going on? You’ve been absorbed by Gray Matters: The Brain Show, a fun new, interactive multi-media show at the Carnegie Science Center. 

Borrowing the look and feel of those classic 1950s B movies (as well as some actual footage), The Brain Show features rubbery-looking aliens who have come to Earth on a quest to decipher the workings of the human brain. You, the audience, help answer their questions, thanks to the Buhl Planetarium’s state-of-the-art five button interactive system built into the theater’s armrests. As the movie progresses the audience reacts to stimuli—picture puzzles and word games—flashing across the screen in the way that brain neurons move. Each button you push, and how fast you push it, gives you a sense of what happens inside the brain every moment of our lives. On screen, Dr. Blake, a 1950s-era scientist, tells the aliens (and us) what’s going on.

"The brain is the most complex machine in the universe," says John Radzilowicz, director of the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory. "It’s a daunting topic, but this show is done in a fun, tongue-in-cheek way." Funded by a $1.7 million National Science Foundation grant, the film was created as a joint effort between Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Science Center. 

Call (412) 237-3400 for showtimes.

National Engineers Week

Alka Seltzer rockets! Artificial hearts! Robot car races! Molecule models made of gumdrops and toothpicks! Cities of the future! They are at the Carnegie Science Center to celebrate National Engineers Week, Friday and Saturday, February 25 and 26. 

More than 300 engineers from all disciplines—chemical, electrical, mechanical, civil—representing more than 30 local agencies, companies, and universities will set up tables featuring hands-on exhibits, presentations, demonstrations, and activities on the theme of "Engineers: Turning Ideas Into Reality." 

A perfect way for youngsters to explore engineering career opportunities and for curious adults to see how engineering touches their daily lives, this five-year-old event also provides engineers a way to strut their stuff.

"Engineers love their profession and they want to share it with others," says Linda Kent, Carnegie Science Center education coordinator. Last year, more than 6,000 visitors saw how the world’s 1.8 million engineers make daily life healthier, easier, and more efficient through technology, math, and science. 

New this year is the "SimCity 2000 Future City Regional Competition," in which 27 Pittsburgh-area teams of seventh and eighth graders present their vision of the future at Carnegie Science Center on January 15. Working under the guidance of teachers and engineer mentors, the students develop a scale model city of the future, complete with public transportation and residential, commercial, and industrial areas. The projects will be displayed during National Engineers Week at Carnegie Science Center. The winner will proceed to the national finals in Washington, D.C.

Few Weeks Remaining to Experience Great Omnimax® Films and Exhibit

Everest and Africa: The Serengeti

In the spring of 1996, David Breashears led an expedition up the world’s highest peak with breathtaking and tragic results—a film of astounding beauty that documented the loss of eight lives. Everest—the Carnegie Science Center’s most popular Omnimax movies—is back for a limited run. If the bestseller Into Thin Air kept you spellbound, you won’t want to miss this movie.

Journey to one of the last great places on earth, Africa: The Serengeti. This special Omnimax film takes viewers on the Great Migration of one and a half million wildebeests, where the struggle to survive is lived each day. Directed by three-time Academy Award nominee George Casey, the film takes you to a world few have ever experienced—Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. 

Both films are showing until March 9. Call (412) 237-3400 for show times.  Whodunit? The Science of Solving Crime  There is more to solving a crime than a episode of "Law & Order" leads audiences to believe. Find out what really happens behind the scenes of an investigation—from exploring a crime scene to the forensics that unlock the clues to who is guilty—at the Carnegie Science Center’s fun and illuminating exhibit, Whodunit? The Science of Solving Crime, continuing until March 23.

The Science Center Stadium Webcam Shows North Shore Traffic and Construction

Don’t let the thought of North Shore stadium construction scare you away from the fun of Carnegie Science Center. 

"People have the misconception that it’s difficult to get here," says Mark Trumbull, Carnegie Science Center Director of Marketing. "The reality is that access to the North Shore is easy and parking is guaranteed" Trumbull adds that traffic is always relatively mild, unless you’re heading to the North Side an hour or so before or after a football or baseball game.

You can now log-on to Carnegie Science Center’s website (www.csc.clpgh.org), and checkout the Stadium Webcam to see live photos of the construction area and surrounding roads. These photos, taken every 20 to 60 seconds by a camera mounted atop the Omnimax dome, provide website browsers with a unique way to check North Shore traffic conditions BEFORE leaving home, as well as a way to view the progress of stadium construction. What is really cool is that webcam visitors can control the camera for two minutes—zooming in on the bulldozer or swiveling to a particular intersection. 

So checkout the Stadium Webcam on Carnegie Science Center website (www.csc.clpgh.org), and see

A Cookoff for Kids 

Saturday, February 19

Could the next Julia Child or Wolfgang Puck be among the second annual Giant Eagle/Pillsbury Kid's Bake-Off contestants? See for yourself as 40 young chefs between the ages of 9 and 13 compete throughout the day in the Carnegie Science Center's Kitchen Theater. Contestants will bake dishes of their own creation--such as Tater Tot Casserole, Roman Apple Cake, and Chocolate Lollipop Delight--in hopes of capturing prizes such as a home computer system or a trip to Orlando, Florida. After sampling last year's winning entries, (Thomas Piltoff's Spinach Blue Cheese Foccacia and Kristin Klein's Apple Crunch Coffee Cake) it's likely last year's judges--Yvonne Zanos, of KDKA TV; Judy Dodd, a Giant Eagle nutritionist; and Suzanne Martinson, Pittsburgh Post Gazette food editor--will return. 


Lecture Series

The ocean is a major topic for Carnegie Science Center in 2000. The new Omnimax film Dolphins at Play in the Wild will premier, showing how these remarkably intelligent mammals communicate and behave. The new third floor exhibit Sea Scape will also open, featuring a self-contained ocean aquarium habitat. 

To kick off the year 2000 an unprecedented lecture series will focus on the importance of our oceans and their inhabitants to mankind.

Reserve all 3 lectures for $50. Call (412) 237-3432 for reservations.

Jennifer Carter is renowned for her undersea filmmaking. She was the first woman to dive to the Titanic, and was the leader of three expeditions to the shipwreck. She has worked on assignment for National Geographic on numerous occasions. Ms. Carter will discuss her underwater filmmaking experiences and the technology involved with working and filming in the deep sea. 

Thursday, February 10 at 7 p.m .at the Carnegie Science Center, Science Stage. Reception following the lecture is $15.

Sylvia Earl is a well-known author and lecturer on ecology of the ocean. She has spent over 6000 hours diving, including record-breaking descents to study ocean habitats and wildlife. Ms. Earl is explorer-in-residence for the National Geographic Society and a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. She will discuss marine mammals as our link to the oceans, with a special emphasis on dolphins and what they can teach humans. 

Monday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m., in the Carnegie Science Center’s Omnimax Theater. There will be a preview of the Omnimax production Dolphins at Play in the Wild. The cost of the reception following the preview is $20.

Kathleen Dudzinsky is the scientist featured in the Omnimax film, Dolphins at Play in the Wild, which opens at the Carnegie Science Center on March 6. Ms. Dudzinsky is a leading expert on communication and behavior of dolphins, and has an avid interest in promoting communication and behavior among dolphins in the wild. 

Monday, April 3 at 7:00 p.m., in the Carnegie Science Center’s Omnimax Theater. See Dolphins at Play in the Wild. The cost of the reception that follows is $20.

Science and Technology Awards Special Event

Jean-Michel Cousteau will be the keynote speaker at Science and Technology Awards, hosted by Carnegie Science Center on April 4. Mr. Cousteau is the founder of the Jean-Michel Cousteau Institute; a non-profit foundation dedicated to uniting the world’s people in a global effort to halt marine devastation. He is a syndicated columnist and has produced many television documentaries. Mr. Cousteau will discuss his unique view of our water planet and our need to protect this treasure. 

Tuesday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m., at the Hilton Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. Dinner will be served but seating is limited. $100 per person. Call (412) 237-3432 for reservations.


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