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National Taiwan Science Education Center’s “Secret Bases of Scientists” Grand Reopening on 1/19

Training S&T talent is one of the National Science and Technology Council’s  (NSTC) chief responsibilities. In addition to high-level research talent, the NSTC is actively working on promoting science education at all levels. Through all types of popular science activities, the NSTC hopes to attract young scholars to science and S&T-related industries. The National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) and the Taiwan Space Agency (TASA) have collaborated with the National Taiwan Science Education Center (NTSEC) to carry out NSTC policy to organize the popular science exhibit “Secret Bases of Scientists” on the 8th floor of the NTSEC. Since opening in March 2023, the exhibit has attracted 50,000 visitors while garnering acclaim from people across a wide variety of disciplines. After updating a portion of the displays, the exhibit held a grand reopening on January 19. The NSTC hopes that this will allow the public to learn about interesting scientific knowledge while gaining a deeper understanding of the research conducted by Taiwan’s national-level research institutions.

The Secret Bases of Scientists is located on the NTSEC’s 8th floor, in a fan-shaped exhibition hall in building’s southeast corner. The exhibition is separated into three parts: “Experiment Base,” “Exploration Base,” and “Knowledge Base”. Every section has two main themed displays. The updated exhibit now includes two new displays: the Exploration Base’s TASA exhibit and the Knowledge Base’s National Center for High-Performance Computing (NCHC) exhibit.

The Exploration Base’s TASA exhibit showcases the Hunter satellite, which was recently launched in October 2023 from French Guiana. Being equipped with a Global Navigation Satellite System Reflectance Signal Receiver (GNSS-R), this meteorological satellite can calculate sea surface wind speeds by receiving signals that navigation satellites reflect from the sea surface. The Hunter satellite and the Formosat-7 satellite, which receives refracted signals from global navigation satellites, complement each other. As such, these two satellites pROVide essential data for meteorological observation, weather forecasting, and scientific research. The exhibition allows visitors to experience the wonders of science by including demonstrations that use models to illustrate the observation principles of GNSS-R.

The Knowledge Base’s NCHC exhibit showcases the specific applications of AI text recognition. NCHC worked with public safety agencies to design a remarkable text recognition system, which was trained and developed from over one million pictures of urban streetscapes. The system can determine the location of a given individual as long as it can see the words of a few signs and has access to a geographical information system. This is very helpful for public safety agencies to quickly fight crime. At this exhibit, the public can also write words for the system to recognize as well as get a better understanding of AI-related knowledge and how AI helps us in our everyday lives.

In addition to the two updated exhibits, the Experimental Base’s National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering is still located near the entrance. This section introduces the principles of earthquake resistance in buildings. The exhibit has wood blocks and paper for kids to build their own structures. Afterwards, they can place their structures on a shaking platform to put their knowledge of earthquake resistance to the test. Kids can also construct paper houses to understand the importance of diagonal bracing in earthquake resistance.

Next to that is the Experimental Base’s National Laboratory Animal Center exhibit. In recent years, scientists from many different disciplines have worked together to develop various alternatives for lab animals. By replacing living creatures with inanimate entities, these scientists have reduced the use of animals in testing. This exhibit is very worth visiting as it showcases microfluidic devices and organ chips.

Next, is the Exploration Base’s Taiwan Semiconductor Research Institute exhibit. Through an interactive arcade game, the public can get a feel for what it’s like to be a semiconductor engineer. The exhibit’s Sensing Cube ping pong and fruit catching game also helps the public better understand the semiconductor technology found in smart products.

Last but not least is the Knowledge Base’s Science & Technology Policy Research and Information Center exhibit. This exhibit also has an interactive game that allows the public to learn about the abundant knowledge of the Policy Research Indicators Database. By answering the game’s questions, participants can establish basic knowledge of the world around us.

In recent years, NARLabs has been transforming the cutting-edge technology developed in national-level research agencies into popular science exhibits and activities that inspire middle and elementary school students to get interested in science and develop scientific acumen. The Secret Bases of Scientists will be periodically updated and continue to showcase the innovative results of national-level research. The public is invited to the 8th floor of NTSEC to explore the joys of cutting-edge science and technology research.