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The prisoner of Azkaban, a mass murderer, is loose and he’s out to get Harry Potter. That’s the story line drawing eager moviegoers to Carnegie Science Center’s Rangos Omnimax Theater to watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The IMAX Experience. When the film premiered nationally on June 4, 6,000 advance tickets had been sold by Carnegie Science Center—the second highest advance sales in the nation.
















“ The Science Center’s OMNIMAX® is one of only seven IMAX theaters across the country that were able to launch the film on June 4, the same day it was released in general cinemas,” says John Radzilowicz, director of visitor experience for the Science Center.

“ We’ve got a good relationship and track record with Warner Bros.,” he adds, crediting Science Center Director Joanna Haas with building the ties. The Science Center has recently featured two other Warner Bros. films—The Matrix Revolutions and Nascar: The IMAX Experience.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third Harry Potter film to be released by Warner Bros., and it tells the story of Sirius Black, who has escaped from the wizard prison known as Azkaban. Throughout the film, Harry Potter, who is now in his third year at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, gradually learns where Sirius fits into his own family history.

The film runs through August 26 in the 350-seat IMAX theatre, and is a special engagement feature that differs from more traditional IMAX films, such as Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees. The Harry Potter film runs for two hours and 15 minutes—much longer than the 45 minutes to one hour that a traditional IMAX film runs.

Plans for On-site Wizardry
To enhance the scientific aspects of the film and appeal to young wizards-in-training, the Science Center will offer special programming, including a Science Center summer camp on wizardry. “The focus of the camp is chemistry,” the Science Center’s John Radzilowicz explains. “We’re going to bring the science connection to the fun of the film. We’ll do some chemistry behind a variety of illusions in the film. It’s a natural connection.”


Science Fundamentals

Carnegie Science Center Partners
with Head Start Teachers

Thousands of children in Allegheny and surrounding counties are getting the news: science is fun.

Carnegie Science Center continues its strong partnership with the Head Start program, begun three years ago, thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Scaife family’s DSF Charitable Foundation. As the grant comes to an end, Head Start is working to continue the program by picking up more of the costs from its own budget.

Head Start is a federally funded program that provides preschool education programs for 3- to 5-year-olds from lower-income families. The Science Center outreach staff began talking three years ago with leaders from the local Head Start community, its teachers, and administrators.

“ Each year, Head Start had set goals for its science curriculum, yet it's the one area where many teachers say they failed to meet their objectives,” says Ron Baillie, the Science Center's chief program officer. “So we worked with them on their curriculum, which is very literacy based, and we wove science and math through it.”

The resulting “Science Fundamentals” program has ended up training at least 450 teachers and aides, and includes the provision of hands-on science materials to Head Start classrooms.

Holly Levenson, Head Start program monitor for Allegheny County, says the program is a major hit with teachers and students. Children in some classrooms have planted their own trees. Other young students have planted corn on the cob and then popped it. “We've got a lot of inner-city classrooms where there isn't a lot of garden space, but our teachers are wonderful,” she notes.

Two annual highlights of the program include an evening when Head Start parents are invited to the Science Center without their children so they can explore on their own (Head Start provides babysitting). Then at the end of the year, parents, children, and siblings are all invited back to the Science Center to explore together.

“ It’s just an amazing program,” says Levenson.

Fifth Annual SciTech Festival

Los-Angeles-based MASS Ensemble played Earth Harp. Photo: Tom Altany

The world’s largest harp. Dove releases. Theater about African-American inventions. Smashing test plastics for Sunoco Chemicals.

Carnegie Science Center was abuzz with these activities and more during the Fifth Annual SciTech Festival that ran April 17-25. Each year, the festival showcases a range of local companies and organizations and promotes science and technology in the region. “Everyone can interact with researchers and industry professionals in a fun, dynamic atmosphere. It’s the only event of its kind in the U.S.,” says Linda Ortenzo, SciTech Festival executive director.

This Festival marked the world premiere of A Wrinkle in Time, adapted from Madeliene L'Engle's award-winning novel. This is the first play produced for the Festival in collaboration with Prime Stage Theatre and Carnegie Science Center.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh thrilled festival-goers with their special effects. Photo: Tom Altany

Visitors also enjoyed 1001 Black Inventions, a play about what it would be like to live without the inventions of Africans and African Americans, performed by Pin Points Theatre from Washington, D.C.

“ Connecting arts and science is an important feature of the Festival,” explains Daniel Casciato, marketing manager. Another big draw was the world’s largest stringed instrument, Earth Harp, spanning four floors of the Science Center. Musicians from Los-Angeles-based MASS Ensemble played while an aerialist twirled above.

The festival spans all ages in its appeal. “Over 2,500 students in grades K-12
attended programs,” says Geri Baker, school programs manager.

Visitors explore Extrude Hone’s “Not So Silly” Putty. Photo: Tom Altany

High school students interacted with professionals and exhibitors who described their jobs and how they trained for them. College students interacted with professionals from local companies at the SciTech Spectacular, an evening of festivities for adults. Companies such as Alcoa, PPG Industries, and Bayer showcased their science. And visitors “tested” smashed plastics at Sunoco Chemicals’ booth.

Outside, the National Aviary led visitors in a dove release. ROBOSTILTS amazed audiences with glowing equipment, unique walking devices, and innovative stunts. SciTech events also took place at various partner locations. For more information, visit www.scitechfestival.org.


Pittsburgher In Orbit

Astronaut Mike Fincke

The International Space Station (ISS) orbits the Earth at an altitude of about 240 miles. Traveling at a speed of approximately 17,500 miles/hour, it completes a full orbit of the planet in 90 minutes. From the Earth, the ISS appears as a bright star and is usually visible for a couple of minutes at a time.

When watching the ISS pass overhead, I often wonder if the astronauts on board ever look down at us. But Pittsburghers won’t have to wonder about that during the current mission. That’s because the ISS Expedition 9 crew includes one of our own: Emsworth native and Sewickley Academy graduate, Lt. Col. Edward M. “Mike” Fincke. Mike, who is 37, is taking part in his first space mission. And what a way to start —six months aboard the ISS as Science Officer and Flight Engineer. Mike and Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka arrived in April and are currently scheduled to remain in orbit until October.

Mike’s dreams of flying in space were fueled in part by visits to the Buhl Planetarium as a child, and he wanted Carnegie Science Center to be a part of his first mission. He has named the Science Center as his one and only “Crew Pick” for an educational “downlink.” Scheduled for September, this opportunity will allow some 900 students at the Science Center to see and speak directly with the ISS crew through a real-time video satellite link. Mike hopes to help inspire the next generation of explorers.

And is Mike thinking about Pittsburgh? He sure is. He called Carnegie Science Center —yes, placed a telephone call from the ISS!—just to let us know that he does look for Pittsburgh when time allows. He’s excitedly looking forward to the downlink in September, and so are we!

You can get a schedule of sighting opportunities for the ISS at the Science Center’s Henry J. Buhl, Jr., Planetarium and Observatory, or visit the NASA human spaceflight page at www.NASA.gov.

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Copyright (c) 2003 CARNEGIE magazine. All rights reserved.