Science…it’s everywhere, it’s everywhere…

Sarah: A visit to the Questacon National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra, ACT last weekend got me thinking how much science we take for granted. Based on the ages of my children, we spent nearly all of our time in the “mini-Q” section, an enclosed area targetted at toddlers and early school-goers. The exhibits struck me initially as simply play-oriented….a mock construction site, a kitchen and shop, cars in a garage and a tumbling water course. And yet, I concluded after further analysis, all have scientific elements. My son and daughter wound building blocks up and down a conveyor belt, transferring force and energy using a mechanical winding arm. I could almost smell the yeast-fermented carbohydrates as plastic loaves of bread were hauled in and out of fake ovens. The whipped egg-white proteins comprising the artificial meringues peaked more and more perfectly with every repeat baking. And the petrol fumes pouring from the cars’ combustion engines did nothing to destroy the serenity of the wooden ducks carried unknowingly along by hydraulic forces toward the grasping arms of an endless wall of squealing children. Does it matter that most children, and adults for that matter, do not realise how important science is to all these and many other processes we encounter daily in life? Probably not, as long as places like Questacon continue to exist.

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