You are a machine. This month’s Science Lounge set out to show you how that machine works. Science Lounge is a once-a-month event at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It’s an event for adults who want to hang out at the museum and do fun science experiments, preferably with a cocktail in hand. (True scientific experiments require alcohol.)
This month the theme was biomechanics, or how our bodies and animals’ bodies accomplish incredible feats. From the awe of flight to the strength of the humble egg, the night’s activities focused on the marvels of nature’s engineering. It all coincided with the temporary exhibit Nature’s Amazing Machines, which is free with your museum admission now through January 1.
Many Science Lounge events feature guest lectures, but this month experimentation was the focus. If you haven’t built a paper airplane since sixth grade, there was a table for you to experiment with different designs and a runway to test its flight.
How much weight can an egg shell withstand? One group of Loungers stacked 36 bean bags on top of three eggs before they cracked. After learning how sea sponges are constructed, participants twisted delicate newspaper to imitate the sturdy structures.
The exhibit was also open for Science Lounge, where you can understand the energy it takes for a bird to get off the ground. Or you could test your own mechanical strength in a trike race against your buddies. (Yours truly actually found this more difficult than it appears.)
It’s all fun, but there’s also real lessons to learn too. Museum educators and biomechanical researchers were on hand to talk to Loungers about how nature inspires engineers to build better machines, from robots to building artificial knees.
Next Science Lounge’s theme is the Solar Eclipse which will be passing over the United States this August. It’s only $15 for non-members of the museum, and there’s a cash bar. Grab your friends, get a sitter, and go learn.
By Rebecca Jacobson