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Bill Hunt takes his seat as Museum of Art chair

Carnegie Museum of Art has added yet another distinguished and talented Pittsburgher to its list of board chairs. Bill Hunt recently took over the role of chairman after serving on the board since 2000. He is also a trustee of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and a member of Carnegie Museums’ Executive Committee.

“ I am honored to be chairman,” Hunt says, “and look forward to working with the museum’s dedicated staff and board and building on the great work that’s already been done.”

Succeeding Marcia Gumberg, who served as chair for the past six years and will continue to serve on the board as emerita trustee, Hunt has a long history of commitment to local organizations. President and chief executive officer of the real estate development firm Elmhurst Corporation, Hunt is a trustee of the Roy A. Hunt Foundation and a member of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. He also has served as chairman of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, president of Pittsburgh Public Theater, and president of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties.

“ We welcome Bill Hunt’s leadership,” says Richard Armstrong, the Henry J. Heinz II director of Carnegie Museum of Art, “and we anticipate continued success in collecting art and presenting great exhibitions to the region.”

The fun of science at this year’s SciTech

Who says science can’t be fun? Certainly not the folks bringing this year’s SciTech Spectacular to vibrant life at Carnegie Science Center October 13-22.

To prove that science can even be a laughing matter, they’ve invited not one but two British scientists/ comedians—Dr. Harry Witchel, a respected physiologist at the University of Bristol and funny guy, and Timandra Harkness, a freelance science writer and occasional stand up comic—to make special presentations. Doesn’t “The Science of Dating” and “POW! Superhuman Science” sound like fun?

Expect even more fun with the hysterical and spectacular mint-powered version of the Bellagio Foundations in Las Vegas, compliments of Internet celebrities “the Diet Pop/Mentos guys.” Find out what happens when you combine 200 liters of Diet pop and more than 500 Mentos mints!

Of course, science has its touchy-feely side, too. For that, SciTech turns to the Senso Car. Developed by Bayer MaterialScience and Rinspeed, this concept car actually “senses” the driver—his or her pulse and driving behavior—and then responds accordingly. For example, depending on the operator’s mood, the Senso Car’s four LCD monitors might emit orange/yellow (stimulating), blue/violet (relaxing), or green (neutral) color patterns that “bathe the cockpit in dazzle-free ambient light.” In addition, the Senso comes equipped with sounds, scents, and action; should the driver start to show signs of fatigue, the electric motors in the seat will shake him.

According to the Senso Car’s creators, “A person who is relaxed and wide awake simply drives better and more safely.”

For the sheer sensory thrill of it, the SciTech Spectacular will also have the Segway Obstacle Course up and running—or, more accurately, gliding. Sporting five gyros, two tilt sensors, and some pretty complex hardware, the Segway Human Transporter is said to sample and react to its rider’s center of gravity 100 times per second, making gliding as easy as walking.

SciTech visitors can also explore interactive exhibits from Pittsburgh’s hottest science and technology companies; experience the hi-tech sports and hi-tech
vehicle zones; enjoy live comedy, music, and more.

The SciTech Spectacular is the only event of its kind in the United States. For a preview of events, go to or call 412.237.3335.

Who let the bugs out?

Above: Bob Davidson, collections manager, with just a sampling of the museum’s huge bug collection.

Joining forces, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Agriculture Department’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and Carnegie Museum of Natural History are determined to keep our shores safe…from bugs.

Every year, new species of invasive insects (think moths, worms, aphids, and other creepy-crawly things) arrive in the United States by land, sea, and air. More than a nuisance, they can do billions of dollars in damage to forests and crops.

That’s why Homeland Security has made it a priority to track down the tiny troublemakers. And in July, a new law went into effect calling for all wood-packing materials to be heat treated or fumigated in an effort to destroy wood-boring bugs.

But before those pesky pests can be eliminated, they need to be identified. And Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Biodiversity Services Facility is doing just that. Working with the USDA, the museum’s entomologists are taking their expertise on the road—setting insect traps, reviewing samples, and making new discoveries. Just last year, the museum’s Invertebrate Zoology team helped identify the Xyleborus maiche, aka an Asian ambrosia beetle (this particular species is not considered a threat).

Given the museum’s extensive insect collection, scientific know-how, and reference department, it’s a natural choice to help the government get the bugs out.


Countdown to launch: DigitalSky at the Science Center

The countdown has begun to launch the latest high-definition, full-dome digital technology at Carnegie Science Center’s Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium. Estimated time of launch: September 27, at a special media and VIP preview. A $1 million grant from the Buhl Foundation gave the Science Center the buying power to purchase and install the state-of-the-art video system. Dubbed DigitalSky, it allows planetariums equipped with the high-tech system the ability to download real-time images of planets, stars, comets, and other galactic entities or events that NASA collects from its fleet of unmanned spacecraft currently cruising the cosmos. This means that Buhl Planetarium staff will be able to customize their presentations with the most current images from space. And boasting a projection of five million pixels per frame, DigitalSky will greatly enhance all existing Planetarium productions. The Buhl will be one of the few facilities worldwide to use this cutting-edge technology.

According to Doreen Boyce, the Buhl Foundation’s president and a trustee of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the technology is “amazing,” and she looks forward to seeing all that that the Science Center staff will be able to accomplish with it.

“ This gift,” she says, “will help ensure that the Planetarium inspires and educates for years to come—and that it maintains its strength as a source for international programming.” As of today’s star date, current Buhl shows, created by its own creative staff, are seen in 400 planetariums in 18 different countries.


The Hazlett gets another encore

Please take your seats: Act III of the North Shore’s Hazlett Theater is about to begin. Thanks to the resolve of its neighbors—including The Andy Warhol Museum’s Thomas Sokolowski and the Children’s Museum’s Jane Werner—the grand old building is about to reopen (for a second time) in grand style. The premiere of The New Hazlett Theater is slated to feature a preview party on Friday, September 15 (7 p.m.-midnight), a family and kids party on Saturday, September 16 (3-5 p.m.), and a public open house on Sunday, September 17 (1-5 p.m.)

Constructed back in 1889 as part of the Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, the Hazlett took its first last curtain call in the 1960s. Left vacant for nearly 10 years, the building then enjoyed an encore performance as home to the Pittsburgh Public Theater from 1974 until the group packed its bags and moved across the river in 1999. Forsaken once again, it looked like the Hazlett’s fate was permanently sealed. Enter Sokolowski and Werner.

Now billed as a dynamic performance venue and community space (the facility is also rentable), The New Hazlett, directed by Sara Radelet, will be operated and programmed through the collaborative efforts of the Children’s Museum, The Warhol, the Northside Leadership Conference, Prime Stage Theatre, and the City of Pittsburgh.

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