The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) promotes all manner of popular science activities, aiming to help young students become interested in the subject through exciting and interesting content such as exhibitions, games, and videos. In light of this policy, NARLabs and the Taiwan Space Agency (TASA) collaborated with the National Taiwan Science Education Center (NTSEC) to organize the exhibition "Secret Bases of Scientists." The exhibition officially debuted in March 2023 to much acclaim and has already seen over 30,000 total visitors. After a partial update, the exhibition officially reopened Oct. 4, hoping to give visitors an even broader understanding of the work of Taiwan's national research centers and share more interesting scientific knowledge.
"Secret Bases of Scientists" is located on the southeast side of NTSEC's 8th floor circular wing and is divided into three areas: the Experiment Base, Exploration Base, and Smart Base, each of which contains two major themes. New exhibition content includes displays from the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering (NCREE) and the National Laboratory Animal Center (NLAC) in the Experiment Base, as well as the Taiwan Semiconductor Research Institute (TSRI) at the Exploration Base.
NCREE's display is located at the entrance of the exhibition area and introduces principles of earthquake resistance in houses, including causes of weak stories and general reasons for a lack of earthquake resistance. Wooden blocks are provided for visitors to assemble their own houses, which can be placed on a manual shake table to test how they would measure up in the face of an earthquake. The space also features a DIY area for earthquake-resistant paper houses, in which model materials are provided so that guests can build their own houses, see just how tall they can make them, and learn about the importance of techniques such as diagonal bracing to increase earthquake resistance.
Right next door is the updated section for NLAC, an institute which breeds a variety of experimental animals that are gatekeepers for drug safety and important partners for scientists as they explore disease mechanisms and the development of medical treatments to save lives. In recent years, scientists from different fields have begun to collaborate to develop alternatives to animal testing, replacing live animals with inanimate specimens in order to minimize the use of these animals. The NLAC display area showcases microfluidic devices and organs-on-chips, technologies developed by scientists which are well worth exploring.
As wafers and chips continue to improve, semiconductors are ubiquitous in our daily lives. At TSRI's exhibition area, visitors can experience the daily life of a semiconductor engineer through interactive games and play with a Sensing Cube to understand how semiconductor technology and smart products allow us to enjoy convenient lives.
This area is followed by Taiwan Space Agency, where a scaled-down satellite ground station and models of FORMOSATs 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 are installed. Visitors will become the operators of the ground station and will be able to receive messages from artificial satellites by controlling an antenna plate and pointing it at the FORMOSAT satellites high in the sky.
After this, visitors come to the Smart Base to find the Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center (STPI). Visitors can learn about the abundant knowledge in the Policy Research Indicators Database (PRIDE) through interactive games and answering questions to build a basic understanding of the current state of our world.
Last but not least is the National Center for High‑performance Computing (NCHC), which not only holds a real model of Taiwan's most advanced AI supercomputer, Taiwania 2, but also a video which breaks down the parts of the supercomputer, allowing viewers to learn more about this technology and how it can help our lives, and to see for themselves what supercomputers are made of.
The four missions of NARLabs are to establish R&D platforms, support academic research, promote frontier science and technology, and foster high-tech manpower. In the past, the mission of fostering high-tech manpower focused on university and graduate students to help them enter scientific research fields. However, in recent years, NARLabs has also begun to promote early education. NARLabs is committed to introducing its cutting-edge technologies in exhibitions and activities that allow elementary and middle school students to have a basic understanding of science, in hopes of enhancing the scientific literacy of all. "Secret Base of Scientists" will be regularly updated with new displays and continue to showcase innovative research findings. All are welcome to come to NTSEC and explore Taiwan's fascinating scientific work.