Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Mind Museum [Philippine Adventures Quest 9: A Beautiful Mind - Jan. 28, 2017]


Have you visited The Mind Museum before? If not then this travelogue is for you. It is described as the most modern science museum in the Philippines and built at a cost of one billion pesos.  Biology, Chemistry, Physics and other advanced fields.  Name it and the Mind Museum has it.   Together with Travel Buddy Mario, the luomujie blog’s Philippine Adventures subprogram takes you on an intellectual journey to the greatest discoveries that the human mind has uncovered.

high-rise buildings at BGC


The museum is located in a former military base which is called Fort Bonifacio.  It was developed into a commercial and residential area where people can live, work and play at the same time.  High rise buildings dominate the entire piece of land and now known as the Bonifacio Global City (BGC).  There are many things to see and experience in BGC and The Mind Museum is just one of them.   Are you now excited to go here?  Let's discuss first how to get to this place.



Travel Buddy Mario poses for a photo before buying his Beep Card at the BGC Bus Station.



You would need a Beep card to conveniently travel around BGC.  It is a smart card similar to the Octopus Card of Hong Kong, the EasyCard of Taiwan and the T-money of South Korea.  The cards are available in any mass transit trains and the BGC Bus Station.  It costs PHP 100 and the 20 pesos is automatically deducted from your card as some sort of payment for the value of the card.  The remaining 80 pesos becomes your credit which you can use to pay for the fares in the buses in BGC and the trains of LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3.  





Now let's talk about how to get to The Mind Museum.  Board any MRT-3 train and alight at Ayala Station.  Go to the northbound exit and walk down in the staircase.  The BGC bus terminal is just beside the MRT-3 Ayala Station along EDSA Blvd.  Mario and I were asked to tap our Beep cards in the sensors even before boarding the vehicle so we didn't swipe again when we were inside the bus.  Read the simple English instructions in the card readers and follow them to avoid getting any error messages the next time you tap your Beep cards.  

We boarded the West route bus but the Upper West route bus can also be taken to reach the museum.   There were no display screens inside the vehicle so listen to the driver whenever the bus makes a stop.  Get off the bus at Net Cube stop.  If you feel that you would get lost in BGC just right after boarding the bus then tell the driver immediately that you want to be alight at “Net Cube”.







Visitors to the museum will start with the future as Aedi the robot introduces the many wonders that one can discover inside the science complex.    The humanoid machine was designed to catch the attention of kids and its recorded voice message gave an illusion that it can talk to humans.   Aedi would have been better if the robot can roam around the building but at least reading its name backward gave me the idea.






The 10 Most Beautiful Experiments were presented in different metal artworks.  Just looking at them might give you a hint about the greatest discoveries that mankind had ever found.  Do you still remember the Millikan's oil drop experiment?  The electrical charge of an electron was computed using this method.  How about the famous gold foil experiment?  Alpha particles were beamed towards a thin gold foil.  The thin sheet of metal scattered the high-energy rays proving the existence of a nucleus in an atom.   








Mind Museum's presentation of Philippine biodiversity was a bit corny.  It was just a bunch of text in display boards.  Flashing lights and simultaneous play of voice recordings confused the readers on where to start.  Anyway, there was a touch screen computer where users try to guess correctly the location of endemic animals in the archipelago.  


The Drake Equation


There were no tour guides in the Mind Museum and visitors were on their own in their exploration.  But I was so lucky to have Mario as my Travel Buddy because he explained to me some of the displays that I couldn't understand like the Drake Equation.  What the hell is that? Haha!  The mathematical formula is the probability of finding a planet which can harbor life.  It has many multipliers and it starts with the expected number of stars in the universe and then it is multiplied by the fraction of stars that have planets around them, the number of planets per star that are capable of sustaining life, etc.  I couldn't grasp the idea at first and my friend explained it this way, “The other multipliers account for the decimal point, Jerome”.  After he explained the equation to me, I finally got the idea behind the Drake Equation.  As you multiply the total number of stars in the universe by different factors, the value gets smaller until you get the total number of planets that have aliens.  “Wow! This guy is so cool”, I told myself after learning something from him. 




Mario continued to show his brilliance at the astronomy area.  After we both looked at a model of a planet revolving around a star,  he mentioned about the two theories of relativity proposed by Albert Einstein,  In the interactive display, the yellow sun was heavy enough to curve space and time forcing its planet to follow the curvature of the dip and revolve around it.  Amidst my amazement of the 3D model, it was fun to know learn about the difference of the Theory of General Relativity and the Theory of Special Relativity.  Mario explained it to me in a simple way like I was just learning the English alphabet for the first time. Haha!















Visitors who get tired of walking can go inside the auditorium and enjoy watching films.  Sit and relax at the Space Shell.   Educational movies can be seen inside like the evolution and birth of our planet.   The images were projected on the dome and I enjoyed it a lot.  There was another theater in the Mind Museum and it is called Nature’s Hourglass.   We were given a pair of 3D glasses but I was surprised to see no chairs inside.  I sat in front of a widescreen together with other kids who were eager to see dinosaurs roar and fly in front of them.   The platform that the audience were sitting at trembled as a giant asteroid plunges into Earth.  











Speaking of dinosaurs, there were was a replica of the skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex in the fossil area of the museum.   Those who want to have selfies can climb the stairs and capture good memories of their science tour in BGC.  Real fossils can also be seen in the Mind Museum and the displays were being borrowed from the collections of the Campos family.   But beyond the fossils and the T-rex model, there was a display that Filipinos shouldn't miss.  Have you ever wondered how the islands of the Philippines were formed?  There was a video which shows how the archipelago was formed and what's more surprising is how the islands of Mindoro and Palawan appear to originate from Mainland China millions of years ago.











Travel Buddy Mario really loves computer games.



After playing one game, he will look for another one ...

... and another one.

But he is not alone, like him there also others who are addicted to such video games. Haha!

There was modernity in the displays on the second floor.  Give yourself a sneak peek at night vision glasses and try to direct the light from a laser to a target by reflecting it to a series of mirrors.  Mario and I tried the laser challenge but using all the mirrors didn't solve the puzzle. So we tried to use a few mirror and we hit the target.  If that was the right thing to do then we did a great job.  There was also a City Comparison app and I used the opportunity to compare Manila and Taipei.  With a touch of a screen, the data showed the difference between the two cities, their population and their source of energy.  Taipei relies more on coal for its energy while Manila mainly uses natural gas.  An X-ray machine revealed the things inside my bag and those made in metal appeared black on the television screen.  It’s a reminder how people in the airport inspect our bags without the need to open them.  Do you love to play arcade games?  Test your eye-hand coordination in the machines that the Mind Museum has provided for you.





The closing time of the museum was fast approaching but my Travel Buddy and I still managed to check the ground floor where there are areas dedicated to the field of Chemistry and Physics.  If you hate these subjects in high school then don’t worry because you will love the displays here.  The Periodic Table of Elements was presented in a honeycomb-style cabinet where each compartment is a container for each element that it represents.  Not all of the elements have their samples but who knows that someday the museum might fill the cabinet.  Marvel at radioactivity as a robotic arm holds a material that emits radiation while another machine holds a piece of material that blocks that radioactive rays and probably made up of lead.  A Geiger counter records the emission from the source material and observes the increase in radioactivity when the block is moved away.  Bring back the lead to its original position and the emission will definitely go down.



On another area on the ground floor are flying balls.  They did not levitate on their own but through Bernoulli’s Principle.  Hot air coming from a tube pushes the inflatable balloons.  As air passes through the balloon upwards, air on the sides which has higher pressure keeps the ball in place while Earth's gravity pulls the ball downwards.  The result is a floating ball! It was a very effective way of explaining on why airplanes fly and the lift that is created when our modern flying machines soar in the sky.  




It was already closing time in the museum but we were still able to see some of the displays related to Physics.  The Van de Graaff generator was already turned off but we witness two ladies insisted to a staff to open it.   Touching the metallic ball will let static electricity to crawl into someone’s body forcing the person's hair to rise.  The effect is more dramatic for women especially when they have a long hair.  Another must-see is the piano staircase.   My Travel Buddy had fun playing musical notes as he climbs upwards and downwards in that stairway.  Each step creates a unique sound when a person’s foot blocks a beam of laser to its sensor.  Too bad! We had to leave the museum but at least I was able to hear the musical bridge sang a song before we finally left the museum.

pendulums

 Gutenberg press

With the numerous things that can one experience inside, a half-day tour wasn’t really enough.  So come during the opening hours and start your adventure early.   Bring your smartest friend and indulge in a myriad of learnings that you will gain in every science experiment.    After the trip, you will bring home a new wealth of knowledge.  A wisdom that has been discovered and continuously rediscovered by those who have a beautiful mind. 

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The Mind Museum
Address: J.Y. Campos Park, Third Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila, Philippines
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