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Science Center Director Returns Home to New Zealand    

Seddon Bennington Becomes Director of National Museum in Wellington


After eight very successful years as Carnegie Science Center's director, Seddon Bennington has left to accept the director's position at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, in Wellington. Bennington's last day at the science center was December 24. 


            A native New Zealander, Bennington was a major force behind UPMC SportsWorks and the center's upcoming $90-million expansion designed by

French architect Jean Nouvel. Ellsworth H. Brown, president of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, says Bennington has "left a mark on Pittsburgh that will remain for a long time -- the wonderfully entrepreneurial stance of the science center itself, a good staff, and a

strong and widely distributed network of community initiatives and outreach programs."

            Dr. Roderick Deane, Te Papa chair, says Bennington was selected to direct the museum--dedicated to New Zealand's heritage and culture--because of his "distinguished record of leadership in the museum and art gallery world… Dr. Bennington is a scientist with a very strong commitment to and knowledge of the arts."

            Education Director Ron Baillie has been named interim director. An international search firm has been hired to find a new director.



Coral Reef Adventure

Rangos Omnimax Theater

February 21 – October 2003


It is a world of flashing neon colors, undulating water, and pulsating, oddly-shaped creatures. This is a coral reef: one of the oldest and richest ecosystems on Earth. Nowhere else does such a diverse range of organisms coexist so closely and in such abundance. In fact, nearly 25 percent of marine life-- including octopus, angelfish, damsel fish, sea snakes,

sponge, anemones, lionfish, cleaner shrimp, and turtles--call the coral reef home.

     Coral Reef Adventure, a new film premiering at Carnegie Science Center's Rangos Omnimax Theater on February 21 illustrates the beauty of healthy coral reef around Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Fiji, Tahiti, and Rangiroa.

     The "emcees" of  Coral Reef Adventure are underwater filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall, who have studied coral reef ecosystems for more than

two decades. The Halls take viewers down 360 watery feet to explore the corals of the South Pacific, swim amid sharks in coral canyons, and to be dazzled by the myriad colors and shapes of the sea creatures living among the coral.

    So dive into the South Pacific's sun-drenched waters--it's more appealing than a Pittsburgh winter.


Engineers Week

February 14-15


To engineer is human. We do it everyday…although we might not be aware of it.Helping the kids build a birdhouse, installing a ceiling fan, mixing an Alka Seltzer to soothe an upset tummy--all have some connection to engineering.

        Last year, more than 7,600 people attended Carnegie Science Center's National Engineers Week and learned about engineering from the folks who know the subject best: real engineers.

        Now in its ninth year, National Engineers Week is designed to celebrate the achievements of the millions of engineers who contribute daily to our quality of life and inspire young people to explore engineering as a career.  The event will feature more than 60 local societies, agencies, companies, and universities. Hands-on exhibits, presentations, and demonstrations--representing every engineering discipline from chemical and electrical to mechanical and civil--will include the ever-popular Alka Seltzer tablet rockets and robot car races along with the more serious artificial heart.

    Two zany academic contests presented by Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania and Carnegie Science Center are also part of National Engineers Week: the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest and Future City Competition.

     The second annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, for students in grades 9 to 12, was held December 6, at UPMC SportsWorks. The contest is designed to pull students away from conventional problem-solving and into imaginative and intuitive thinking as they build an elaborate multistage machine that cleans, polishes, and buffs shoes. The designs will be on display during Engineers Week. The contest is presented by Westinghouse Electric Co. and Carnegie Science Center.

    On January 18, the Fourth Annual Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition will be held at Carnegie Music Hall. Here middle school students---our future engineers and architects---have imagined cities of

the 21st century through 3-D models. The winner will proceed to the national finals in Washington, D.C., in February.


Buhl Foundation endows the

Carnegie Science Center Director's Chair        


The Buhl Foundation celebrated its 75th year of supporting western Pennsylvania by making the largest gift in its history:  $3 million to endow The Henry Buhl, Jr. Director chair.


Doreen Boyce, president of the foundation since 1982, noted that, "Foundations can't make change: our job is to fund people and organizations who can."  She added, "Our roots, as well as our name, are in the science center, and it is a perfect example of a project that make a difference in individual lives as well as in the development of an entire region.  It is a major tourist attraction, a prolific educator, and a leader in cutting edge technology and exhibits."


The House that Mayor Murphy built

A very special person designed a new structure for Carnegie Science Center's Miniature Railroad & Village. Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy hand-built a model of Hazelwood's John Woods house--believed to be the oldest residence in Allegheny County--using beeswax to replicate the stone and carving shingles from heavy paper stock. Exhibit Manager Mike Orban and Program Coordinator Patty Rogers lent guidance.



"Murphy is a long-time train enthusiast," says Rogers, "and, as a child, took model building lessons from creator Charles Bowdish.  Murphy likes old homes and buildings and is passionate and knowledgeable about the history of Pittsburgh, so his idea to replicate this structure was a natural."  He built the model of the sandstone house from drawings made from photographs and measurements taken at the site.  John Woods, one of the original surveyors of Pittsburgh, built the house in 1792, and Stephen Foster serenaded the Woods family on its porch. Located at 4604 Monongahela Street, the house has been purchased by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and plans are underway to renovate it. The Woods house was designated a historic site by Pittsburgh City Council in 1977.


   The Miniature Railroad & Village is sponsored by Lionel.


New Planetarium

Explores the Building Blocks of Life


Tissue Engineering for Life, a new Buhl Planetarium show premiering in January, is an innovative and educational program focusing on tissue engineering…and we don't mean Kleenex.



Following in the footsteps of Journey into the Living Cell and Grey Matters: The Brain Show, the new Tissue Engineering for Life investigates the science of growing molecules, cells, tissues, and organs to replace

defective or injured ones. The most well-known type of tissue engineering is skin grafting for burn victims, but this science also encompasses technologies

that improve surgical operations and diagnoses.


"If we can fly over the surface of Mars, why not fly over the surface of a cell?" says Buhl Planetarium Director John Radzilowicz of the show. And Buhl Planetarium offers the perfect immersive, interactive environment in which to do just that. Combining the best computer 3-Danimation, scientific imagery, art, and sound,  audiences will see how the body grows, works, functions, and repairs itself all the way down to the cellular level. As a special bonus, audiences get to decide what they will see and learn about by "voting" on a keypad attached to their armrest.


“It's total immersion," says Radzilowicz. "If we're talking about a bone, we're going to take you inside a bone."


The program will be shown in a modular format over the next 2 1/2 years. The first module is dedicated to bones--how bone tissue grows, what can go wrong, and how tissue engineering can heal injuries. Later modules

will cover stem cell research, skin grafting, and organ transplant. So a returning viewer could see a totally different show each visit.


"It's an exciting program, where you get a new at the exciting technology taken from today's headlines," says Radzilowicz.


Tissue Engineering for Life is funded by the National Institutes of Health and sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.





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