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Table of Content for sciencemuseums:

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2022/04/10 LA's California Science Center
π 2022-04-10 01:01 in Sciencemuseums
It had been a while since I had been in the area, so since ASOT 1000 was happening in the same location, it was a good excuse to go visit again:



The really cool part of that museum is of course the space shuttle that was moved there:

including a booster
including a booster




After flying the space shuttle to LAX (through a nice flight across the california coast, I remember seeing it when it flew by the bay area), they show the challenging trip to the science center:













The rest of the museum was still fun to see, including a next expo on Ankor:






And nice gardens on the way out:


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2021/09/01 Birmingham Thinktank Science Museum
π 2021-09-01 01:01 in England2021, Sciencemuseums
Since I was going by Birmingham (clickme) to stop by Cosford RAF Museum (click me), the most interesting attraction seemed to be the Thinktank Science Museum, so that's where I went. It was a bit unusual in layout and displays, but I enjoyed it:

The vehicles section was fair:









Other various displays:





There was an interesting exhibit that showed how different drugs worked on the brain:






Animals:



The last floor also had interesting displays on existing and future technologies:




All in all, worth the stop

2021/08/31 Liverpool World Museum
π 2021-08-31 01:01 in England2021, Sciencemuseums
Liverpool has a fair amount of museums, turns out the "World Museum" is a bit of an "everything museum". I'm typically not a huge fan of those, as I prefer museums that focus on something and are good at it, but I'll admit that this museum is an exception, it had different focusses on different floors and was an enjoyable visit.

Science:









Several displays/rooms on animals and insects:















The egypt section was quite good too:










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2021/08/30 Manchester Museum of Science and Industry
π 2021-08-30 01:01 in England2021, Sciencemuseums
Since I had a day to spend in Manchester, the second museum I picked was the Museum of Science and Industry Museum of Science and Industry. I had great hopes for it, but unfortunately its hall of planes and other cool stuff, was closed for renovations, so I only got to visit the rest, which was ok-ish for a science museum.


a little bit of everything
a little bit of everything





They had decent displays on encryption and Bletchley Park, but I had been to the real place :)



haha
haha

The museum is in a former textile factory, cool to see the equipment still there:




punch tapes that controlled the machines
punch tapes that controlled the machines




2021/08/25 Bletchley Park & National Museum of Computing
π 2021-08-25 01:01 in England2021, Sciencemuseums
I did not know anything about Bletchley Park or National Museum of Computing just 1H north of London until I was in London and had dinner with my friend and EFREI schoolmate, Jerome Abela, who told me about it. It is purposely 1H outside of London just next to a train station, because it was a very secret encrypted message breaking and decoding base during WWII and in case London ever were to be bombed, this place that didn't look like anything, would be spared.

I didn't quite know that Bletchley Park is actually separate from the National Museum of Computing (they are adjacent, but separated by a fence, needing an annoying 10-15mn walk all the way around), and Bletchey Park actually opens earlier, so it's probably best to visit first (also check the National Museum of Computing's website for which dsays they have guided tours and guides showing the hardware (well worth it).

I'll start with the National Museum of Computing as it was the most exciting to me with its fully functional rebuild bombe and colossus decryption machines for Enigma and Lorenz (the much more secure encryption system German Command used):



One big mistake the germans did was to send a weather report starting with the same german word (known plaintext) every morning. This allowed building a computer (bombe) that tried all rotor combinations to turn the crypted message into the known platintext:



The even more impressive machine (by a lot) was the aptly named "Colossus" which was build from scratch from a reverse engineered design (that part is so impressive), to decrypt the much more secure Lorenz encryption:








the computer reads the encrypted message from this paper tape (5 bit ASCII)
the computer reads the encrypted message from this paper tape (5 bit ASCII)


this machine did the decryption once the other machine had output the decryption parameters
this machine did the decryption once the other machine had output the decryption parameters


How lorenz was reverse engineered and cracked is complicated and super impressive, but basically all came down to the almost same message being sent twice with the same key which allowed for a known plaintext attack:


This video shows the different machines in action Bombe rebuild (to break enigma), Colossus rebuild (to break Lorenz), plus the oldest still working half-mechanical computer (Harwell Dekatron):

And the museum had lot of other computers, a collection that is close to being as good as the one at the computer history museum in Mountain View, CA:


they have a whole collection of tubes (pre-transistors) to replace the ones that break on their machines
they have a whole collection of tubes (pre-transistors) to replace the ones that break on their machines





core memory
core memory





impressive they had so many of those machines, still working
impressive they had so many of those machines, still working




I had one of those
I had one of those

this too
this too

and this too (Asmtrad CPC464+memory upgrade+floppy)
and this too (Asmtrad CPC464+memory upgrade+floppy)

didn't have this one at home, but worked with them at SGI
didn't have this one at home, but worked with them at SGI

those I never had, but I wish I did. Archimedes was awesome and way ahead of its time with Arm RISC CPUs
those I never had, but I wish I did. Archimedes was awesome and way ahead of its time with Arm RISC CPUs

The Harwell Dekatron was also a very cool (and still working) computer I had never seen:



Watch it in action:

Bletchley Park had different buildings each with their story and what they were used for:





Lots of info on the machines, an earlier crack of older enigma machines was to use EINS for plaintext attacks:








They had many displays on the brilliant mathematicians that broke the codes and built the machines. Alan Turing was one of them, but they were multiple others:


Despite some inefficiencies in having to go back and forth between the 2 museums to join a timed tour at Bletchley (which actually is skipable if you are short on time), I spent the entire day there (open to close) and it was very well worth it.

2020/11/06 Oklahoma City Museum of Osteology
π 2020-11-06 01:01 in Sciencemuseums
This one was of the 4 museums we saw in Oklahoma City during our big trip from the Bay Area to Dallas.

Before leaving OKC, we went to the Museum of Osteology, which was surprisingly good:


























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2020/11/05 Oklahoma City Science Museum
π 2020-11-05 01:01 in Sciencemuseums
This one was of the 4 museums we saw in Oklahoma City during our big trip from the Bay Area to Dallas.

Another nice museum in OKC was the Science Museum. It was worth a good 3H and did a good job having kid friendly and child resistant sections while having better exhibits for adults that wreen't too damaged by said kids. By US science museum standards, it was pretty good. Their small planetarium was definitely better than average:







the museum was near empty, so a good time for Jennifer to try their segway
the museum was near empty, so a good time for Jennifer to try their segway









I can't quite explain how, but Jennifer made it through the tight rope. Well done
I can't quite explain how, but Jennifer made it through the tight rope. Well done










Jennifer wasn't having any fun :)
Jennifer wasn't having any fun :)

Good times.

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2020/10/01 Ely Nevada Northern Railway Museum
π 2020-10-01 01:01 in Sciencemuseums
While on US-50, the loniest road in america, we stopped at the star attraction (the remaining ones were really B or C), the Ely Nevada Northern Railway Museum. It is in no way one of the best train museums I've seen (especially after SCMAGLEV and Railway Park south of Nagoya, or the one in York), but it was still an enjoyable stop. Those trains used to go to a nearby copper mine, from steam to diesel-electric:











found a lovely little kitten
found a lovely little kitten

once a day during that time of the season, a train takes passengers to the mine
once a day during that time of the season, a train takes passengers to the mine

And that was it for Ely Nevada Northern Railway Museum, it was time to get back on the road...

2020/01/02 Paris' Palais de la Decouverte
π 2020-01-02 01:01 in Paris, Sciencemuseums
Palais de la Découverte was the first science museum I went to when I was a kid, it had impressive exhibits then some 30 years ago, and they just added even newer ones, keeping the old favourites. Unfortunately the museum is scheduled to be moved to a lesser and smaller location in 2020, losing irreplaceable history and impressive exhibits.
I've been to many science museums around the world, and this is one of the top ones in the world, and honestly the best one in the world in amount of cool big scale experiments they had in a single building.

When we found that out, we spent 1.5 days going through all the presentations they had during the Xmas holidays, and we saw most but not all of the static exhibits:

it is located at the back of the grand palais, an iconic building in Paris
it is located at the back of the grand palais, an iconic building in Paris



The different presentations were definitely a highlight:

exhibits on magnetism, showing magnets lose their properties when they are too warm
exhibits on magnetism, showing magnets lose their properties when they are too warm

more interesting: stream of liquid gas is susceptible to magnetism
more interesting: stream of liquid gas is susceptible to magnetism

supraconductive material, when cooled sufficiently will stay in a magnetic equilibrium
supraconductive material, when cooled sufficiently will stay in a magnetic equilibrium

The museum's high power experiments (static electricity and electro magnets) have been there forever and are always a favourite:


nice generator, 330kV
nice generator, 330kV





go big, or go home
go big, or go home

induced electric currents from magnetism allow for levitation, and it's hot
induced electric currents from magnetism allow for levitation, and it's hot


There were lots of other exhibit of course:





it's all about density, yes this is real water and a real bowling ball
it's all about density, yes this is real water and a real bowling ball



Multiple sections on animals

the ants exhibit was cool
the ants exhibit was cool






the queen
the queen

termites too
termites too


the octopus demo was cool too
the octopus demo was cool too

it gets to open a jar with a crab inside
it gets to open a jar with a crab inside

and eat the yummy crab
and eat the yummy crab

The 2nd day, we came at opening time to see some static exhibits before the presentations started:


We then went to see the excellent supraconductivity:



and then came the time for the full scale maglev demo
and then came the time for the full scale maglev demo

a bit of time to cool down the supraconductive magnets
a bit of time to cool down the supraconductive magnets


and then it was Jennifer's turn:

There plenty of other presentations:

turning gas into solid
turning gas into solid

oxygen in the air liquefies first, and causes flammable liquid
oxygen in the air liquefies first, and causes flammable liquid

safety goggles are for other people :)
safety goggles are for other people :)

they had bucket fulls of liquid gas to play with
they had bucket fulls of liquid gas to play with



After 1.5 days, we didn't quite get the time to see it all, but we made a good dent. The staff and demonstrator were awesome. I'm really sad that this museum will close forever in less tha na year.

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2019/10/12 Prague's Narodni Technicke Museum
π 2019-10-12 01:01 in Sciencemuseums
While in Prague, I went to check out the local science museum, and it was surprisingly good, worth 4H or 5H if you do the underground mine tour which looks surprisingly believable.

The main hall was transportation with nice displays:













There were lots of other rooms about research and science:




The bottom floor was about mining, and had lots of interesting equipment:










Another floor was about printing presses:




Another room yet on astronomy:


And more rooms I didn't all picture here. Definitely worth a visit.

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