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NSCL and FRIB Inspire New Exhibit at Impression 5 Science Center

“Build an Atom” activity inside SMASH: A Nuclear Adventure.

Impression 5 Science Center opened an interactive science exhibit that is inspired by the positive, life-changing nuclear science research happening now at MSU’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) and in the future at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB).

From atoms and isotopes to cosmic rays, “SMASH: A Nuclear Adventure” encourages children and families to explore the world of nuclear science and the building blocks of the universe in a meaningful and relevant way.

“STEM education — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — is a growing component of many higher education programs and an important foundation for 21st century careers,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “This is a fun way to kindle family and students’ interest, and we’re thrilled to be a part of the collaboration.”

A member of WKAR’s Curious Crew at the SMASH exhibit.

The 1,500 square-foot interactive exhibit provides a dynamic space for children and families to explore atoms, smash them, create rare isotopes, observe cosmic rays and challenge their understanding of what’s possible through discoveries in nuclear science. An important aspect of the exhibit is a series of videos that highlight a diverse group of individuals who contribute to the work happening at MSU’s NSCL and FRIB.

“SMASH: A Nuclear Adventure” is funded by TechSmith; MSU’s NSCL, which is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), and FRIB, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE-SC); MSU Federal Credit Union and the Desk Drawer Fund; and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

NSCL is an NSF national user facility, supporting the mission of the Nuclear Physics program in the NSF Physics Division. MSU is establishing FRIB as a scientific user facility for the Office of Nuclear Physics in the DOE-SC. Under construction on campus and operated by MSU, FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions and applications for society including in medicine, homeland security and industry.

“Seeing these organizations band together to make this exhibit a reality fulfills a dream we’ve had at Impression 5 since FRIB was first announced,” said Erik Larson, executive director of Impression 5 Science Center. “The greater Lansing community has shown so much support to the Science Center, which has allowed us to transform our guests’ experiences through additional space and more meaningful interactive exhibits. Now we get to connect this new exhibit to the amazing advancements in science happening right here in our community.”

Visitors to Impression 5’s SMASH exhibit can build their own atoms.

“We’re delighted to be part of this partnership between MSU and Impression 5,” said FRIB Laboratory Director Thomas Glasmacher. “We’re proud to be building the most powerful superconducting heavy-ion linear accelerator right here at Michigan State University, and we’re pleased to share with our community how FRIB works and how the research conducted here will positively impact all our lives.”

Impression 5 Science Center is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. For admission prices and more information, visit impression5.org.

Kim Ward via MSU Today

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