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NARLabs, TASA, and National Taiwan Science Education Center Open "Secret Bases of Scientists" Exhibition

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) hopes to help young students build knowledge in science and technology early through various activities so that they can have the ability to one day shape the future. NARLabs and Taiwan Space Agency (TASA), in their implementation of NSTC policy, collaborated with the National Taiwan Science Education Center (NTSEC) to organize a three-year-long exhibition titled "Secret Bases of Scientists," located on the 8th floor of NTSEC. The exhibition officially opened on March 14, and aims to help young students and their families gain a basic understanding of the work done by Taiwan's national research institutes and learn basic scientific knowledge through engaging activities.

Expanding Our Horizons

"Secret Bases of Scientists" is located on the southeast side of NTSEC's 8th floor circular wing and is divided into three areas: Experiment Base, Exploration Base, and Smart Base, each of which contains two major themes. Upon entering the exhibition, visitors come to the Experiment Base, where they discover the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering. There, they can see through a manually-operated model how seismic isolation and damping techniques can reduce possible damage to houses in Taiwan, which is often under the threat of earthquakes. The model also shows what to consider when building a house on mountainous terrain in Taiwan.

Optical imaging instruments are becoming more and more powerful. Do you know how their lenses are made? Next in the Experiment Base is the Taiwan Instrument Research Institute, where visitors can see how glass blanks are manufactured into optical components and learn more about the structure of optical instruments through puzzle games. Visitors are also able to hold a Fresnel lens, see how the lens becomes thin, and understand how it can be applied in daily life.

Next stop is the Exploration Base, which first features the Taiwan Ocean Research Institute. Here visitors can follow the country's largest marine research vessel, Legend, using nautical charts to explore the deep sea and discover the waters of North Okinawa or the South China Sea, and as far as the Pacific Plate and across the Mariana Trench. At present, R/V Legend has traveled 77,020 nautical miles, which is equivalent to 3.5 times around the Earth's equator!

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, in which is located the Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center. 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, 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.

Enhancing Scientific Literacy

NARLabs President Faa-Jeng Lin stated that 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 talent 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, as helping elementary and middle school students build an interest in science and cultivating scientific literacy are also very important. 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 helping to enhance the scientific literacy of all.

TASA Director-General Wu Jong-shinn explained how this year, the National Space Organization was transformed into Taiwan Space Agency. TASA is responsible for enhancing national space technology R&D capabilities, implementing national space policies and programs, and promoting the development of space activities and the space industry in Taiwan. One of TASA's most important tasks is to nurture talent in space science and technology and promote space science education, and exhibitions are an important channel for students and the general public to get exposed to the subject. This three-year special exhibition held in cooperation with NARLabs and NTSEC will promote space science education and spread knowledge, in hopes of providing the public with better awareness.

NTSEC Director Huoo-Chin Liu stated that in order to continue to provide visitors to NTSEC with more diverse experiences, NTSEC is working with more organizations to introduce the latest and most interesting science exhibitions and activities. The "Secret Bases of Scientists" exhibition, co-organized with NARLabs and TASA, will be on display for three years and will be updated every six months, showcasing innovative national research findings that will lead to new discoveries with every visit! All are welcome to explore the intricacies of Taiwan's research achievements on the 8th floor of NTSEC, as well as visit NTSEC's permanent exhibitions on basic science.