San Jose, Calif., September 6, 2006 – The Tech Museum of Innovation, one of the nation|!s premier science and technology museums, announced today that it is opening a new permanent gallery called the "Energy Gallery", and the first exhibition for this gallery called Green by Design. Opening September 29, the new gallery and exhibition provide visitors with hands-on, interactive experiences that teach people about renewable energy sources, and how to harness and use energy more efficiently. In celebration of the new gallery and exhibition, The Tech will also be featuring an electric car made by inventor Walter Baker in 1898, and the most recent addition to the electric car phenomenon, the Tesla Roadster, one of the world|!s first high-performance electric cars.
The new Energy Gallery and Green by Design exhibition reflect The Tech|!s permanent involvement and leadership in the area of environmental and energy education. Plans call for both the gallery and exhibition to continually evolve to feature the latest innovations and innovators that are developing technologies and solutions for living green and reversing the path towards global warming.
"Every 44 minutes, the sun provides enough energy to supply the entire world|!s energy requirements for a year," said Peter Friess, President of The Tech. "We need to inspire the innovator in everyone to develop ways to harness this natural energy resource, and turn it into a clean and plentiful alternative to fossil fuels. We want everyone who visits the gallery to walk away with a better understanding of what they can do to contribute to conserving our world|!s finite resources."
Among the interactive components of Green by Design, visitors can:
• Participate in the "MPG Marathon", an arcade-like game where they can design and race a hybrid car to see how far they can travel in two minutes on a cup of gas. Visitors have the option of choosing the size of the electric motor and gas engine, body style, and tires to try and build the most efficient car.
• Race two cars that are powered by supercapacitors instead of batteries. Supercapacitors have been called "lifetime batteries" since they can survive a million charges before they need to be discarded.
• Build and test their own wind turbines in an experimental wind tunnel.
• Pedal a stationary bike to power various devices and compare their energy efficiency.
• Run a regenerative braking simulation called "I Brake for Energy", that teaches visitors how the same electric motor that helps move an electric car forward works as a brake to slow the wheels down, and in doing so, generates electricity that is sent back to the battery for future use.
In addition to the interactive exhibits within Green by Design, there will be displays featuring "smart" windows and various insulation materials that showcase new designs for the home that dramatically save on energy use; and a section featuring some of the innovative green projects of past Tech Museum Awards Laureates. An Energy Tower using wind, water or solar energy to light up will also be a dramatic feature of the exhibition.
Before journeying to the world of today and tomorrow in the Green by Design exhibition, visitors will be greeted in the lobby of The Tech Museum by a late 1800|!s Baker Electric car. The vehicle is on loan from Deborah Gordon, great grandniece of inventor Walter Baker, and associate director for the Preventive Defense Project at Stanford University and mayor of Woodside, California. This is a rare opportunity to have a close-up look at a turn-of-the-20th-Century battery-powered vehicle, and a chance to learn more about Baker, a leading innovator of his time, and collaborator with other famous inventors including Thomas Edison.
The new Tesla Roadster, built by Tesla Motors, debuted in Santa Monica in July of this year. The car will be featured for the first several days after the opening of The Tech|!s Energy Gallery and new exhibition. Offering an exhilarating acceleration of 0 to 60 MPH in 4 seconds, beautiful styling and 250 miles of driving range on a single charge, the Tesla Roadster was developed by Silicon Valley innovators Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. In developing the Tesla Roadster, Everhard and Tarpenning rejected the idea that electric cars couldn|!t offer both sports car performance and energy efficiency in a fun to drive, beautiful package. The Tesla Roadster hits the roads next year, and in the meantime, its appearance at The Tech is a great way for visitors to get an early look at this ground-breaking new high-performance electric sports car.
Besides the new Green by Design exhibition the new Energy gallery is home to The Tech|!s presentation exhibition called View from Space, which creates the effect of looking at the Earth from space. This impressive exhibition, based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration|!s (NOAA) Science On a Sphere®, features a large sphere, approximately six feet in diameter, and four projectors that cast rotating images onto the sphere that show climates and climate change around the world, energy use by country and continent, the ocean currents, weather systems and events, and even air traffic patterns. Developed by 2003 Tech Museum Award Laureate Dr. Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald of NOAA, View from Space is one of only nine such displays in the U.S., and the only display of its kind in California, creating the effect of Earth in Space.
Green by Design is the result of extensive planning and collaboration between The Tech and its Silicon Valley supporters. Partners and underwriters include the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Derry & Charlene Kabcenell, Adobe Systems, and Woods Institute for the Environment – Stanford University. Officials from the City of San Jose, a leader in the implementation of "green" building and operational practices, have eagerly endorsed the Green by Design project and added their expertise to its planning. Notably, Linda LeZotte, San Jose City council member, and Michael Foster, from the San Jose Green Building Program, assisted in presenting a workshop on green building practices for Museum staff, which led to additional ideas for the exhibit and operational practices at The Tech Museum. The County of Santa Clara's Environmental Resources Agency also assisted in the planning of Green by Design.
Green by Design opens September 29 and its run is open-ended at The Tech Museum of Innovation, 201 S. Market Street, San Jose, California. 408.294-TECH or www.thetech.org
About The Tech Museum of Innovation:
The Tech Museum of Innovation is an interactive technology and science experience. Located in San Jose, California – the Capital of Silicon Valley – its mission, as a public-benefit
corporation, is to inspire the innovator in everyone. Through hands-on exhibits, educational programs, the annual Tech Challenge student team competition, and the internationally recognized Tech Museum Awards, The Tech Museum of Innovation honors the past, celebrates the present, and encourages the development of innovative ideas for a more promising future.
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