Liberty Science Center
|Location||Liberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey, US|
|Visitors||750,000 per year|
|President & CEO||Paul Hoffman|
|Chairperson||David Barry/John Weston|
|Public transit access||Liberty State Park station, Hudson–Bergen Light Rail|
|Nearest parking||On-site (daily charge)|
The center, which first opened in 1993 as New Jersey's first major state science museum, has science exhibits, the largest and most technologically advanced planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, numerous educational resources, and the original Hoberman sphere, a silver, computer-driven engineering artwork designed by Chuck Hoberman.
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Liberty Science Center completed a 22-month, $109 million expansion and renewal project on July 19, 2007. The expansion added 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) to the facility, bringing it to nearly 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2). However, the amount of exhibit space slightly decreased with the expansion as all the new space added is open space such as queue lines.
In December 2017, the Science Center opened the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, a 400-seat facility with a dome 100 feet (30 m) in diameter and an 89-foot (27 m) diameter screen, named for the benefactor who contributed $5 million towards the cost of construction. Larger than New York City's Hayden Planetarium, at its opening it was the largest such planetarium in the Western Hemisphere and the world's fourth largest.
Liberty Science Center's permanent exhibitions include:
- Skyscraper! Achievement and Impact – The largest exhibition on the subject of skyscrapers in the world – with artifacts from the World Trade Center, a walk along an I-beam two stories above the exhibition floor, an earthquake-shake table, and a glass-Schindler 400A mid-rise traction elevator, which is open to show how the elevator moves, the machine room, and the pit.
- Eat and Be Eaten – This exhibit of unusual live animals explores the predator-prey relationship, including vipers, puffer fish, cotton-top tamarins, brilliantly colored poison dart frogs, eusocial naked mole-rats and fungus culturing, leaf cutter ants.
- Communication explores human communication in four areas—body and language; symbols, signs, and writing; print, audio, and video; and signals and networks. Here guests can also do Language Karaoke, where they are taught to say phrases in Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, and Cockney.
- Infection Connection – Helps guests understand how individual actions may affect global health issues. Guests may ride the IC Express, which shows a film about different types of infectious diseases.
- I Explore – An age-restricted area, where guests under age six and their caregivers can explore aspects of the world around them through water play, a microscope, a Luckey Climber climbing structure, a street scape, and a rock xylophone – made from hanging rocks that ring like bells when struck.
- Our Hudson Home – Teaches guests about the wildlife and ecology of the Hudson River. It includes an open-air observation deck providing views of the Hudson River and the surrounding area.
- Wonder Why – Holds many of the original exhibits from the earliest days of the museum
- Energy Quest – Explores different energy types and the technologies to harness these.
- Wildlife Challenge is a seasonal outdoor exhibit in which guests can take part in a variety of physical activities, designed to simulate different animals' environments. Activities include balance beams, and a zip line accessible only to guests that can hold on to a rope for at least ten seconds.
- Travelling exhibitions – Various temporary exhibits
- The first exhibit since the center re-opened was Islamic Science Re-Discovered.
- Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear let guests see how they would react when they were exposed to creepy animals, loud noises, electric shock and the fear of falling. The exhibit explored why their bodies react the way they do.
- "Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age" used video installations, hands-on interactive displays, life-sized models and fossils to teach more about the extinct mammals. The exhibit showcased Lyuba, the world's best-preserved woolly mammoth specimen.
- Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition featured over 100 authentic artifacts from the Titanic, which were set within replicas of cabins and other areas of the ship. The exhibit also allowed visitors to touch an "iceberg" to simulate how cold the water was when the ship sank.
- Rubik's Cube exhibition - Beyond Rubik's Cube opened to the public on April 26, 2014 and has toured to other museums around the world. The exhibition celebrates the Cube's 40th anniversary, and features artifacts and exhibits that trace the history of the Cube and mark the massive cultural influence it continues to have on popular culture today.
Jennifer Chalsty Center for Science Learning and Teaching
In July 2007, the Jennifer Chalsty Center for Science Learning and Teaching opened. It is a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) facility extending over the entire former Invention Floor of Liberty Science Center, with six laboratories, a 150-seat theater, and other resources for teachers and students. Educators can upgrade science teaching skills and find peers to help strengthen science instruction in the classroom, while students can participate in intense, multi-day or single hour programs to ignite interest and skills in science exploration.
Genius Award and Gallery
The LSC hosts an annual Gala and Genius Award as well as Genius Gallery, a permanent, interactive display. The full list of awardees: 2011: Jane Goodall; 2012: Temple Grandin, Ernő Rubik, Oliver Sacks; 2013: Sir Richard Branson, Garry Kasparov, Cori Bargmann; 2014: Dean Kamen, Sylvia A. Earle, J. Craig Venter; 2015: Jeff Bezos, Vint Cerf, Jill Tarter; 2016: Frank Gehry, Jack Horner, Ellen Langer, Kip Thorne; 2017: Katherine Johnson, Ray Kurzweil, Marc Raibert (and SpotMini); 2018: Vitalik Buterin, George M. Church, Laurie Santos, Sara Seager; 2019: Chris Messina, Sally Shaywitz and Bennett Shaywitz, Martine Rothblatt, Karlie Kloss; 2020: Moshe Safdie, Jennifer A. Lewis, William Conan Davis.
Sci Tech Scity proposal
LSC is in negotiation with Jersey City to receive for a nominal fee city-owned land (a former car pound) which would be developed as an educational and residential area called Sci Tech Scity. Sci Tech Scity is expected to attract top scientists and researchers from around the world, while also educating Jersey City's next generation of leaders in this field. This new project will include a biotech lab, a coding lab, a technology business incubator, and a K–12 STEM-focused public school.
- Kitta MacPherson. "Innovation & Inspiration", The Star-Ledger, October 4, 2006.
- Liberty Science Center Expansion Project Archived October 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, accessed January 30, 2007
- Barron, James. "Planetarium Opens in New Jersey, Ushering in a New Kind of Star Wars", The New York Times, December 6, 2017. Accessed December 6, 2017. "That may or may not explain the debut of the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere and the fourth largest in the world. It opens this week in Jersey City. The top scientist responsible for it, Paul Hoffman, the president and chief executive officer of the Liberty Science Center, boasted that it was so large that the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, the starry destination for generations of middle-school field trippers, would fit inside with room to spare."
- "LSC: Eat and be eaten". Retrieved September 8, 2018.
- "Naked mole rat queens may control their subordinates via poop". August 30, 2018.
- "Ants march into Liberty Science Center". September 6, 2015.
- "Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age". LSC.org. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- Smith, Olivia (April 21, 2009). "Baby mammoth Lyuba, pristinely preserved, offers scientists rare look into mysteries of Ice Age". Daily News. New York.
- "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition". LSC.org. Archived from the original on February 28, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- "Beyond Rubik's Cube". Liberty Science Center. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
- Osowski, Jeffrey. "Enliven the art of teaching science", New Jersey Education Association Review, February 2006.
- "Liberty Science Center Genius Gallery". Retrieved September 8, 2018.
- "Critics assail Jersey City plan to give land to Liberty Science Center". NJ.com. March 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- "Teachers union seeks delay on Liberty Science Center plan". NJ.com. March 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- "Heated debate over $276M Liberty Science Center expansion plan". NJ.com. March 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- Rothstein, Edward (July 20, 2007). "Museum Review: Touch Me Feel Me Science". NY Times.
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