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Students Help Utah Science Center

April 8, 2003 — University of Utah students are working to make the proposed Utah Science Center a reality. Bioengineering students are developing exhibits for the interactive museum, while architecture students are working on designs for renovating the center’s main building – the old Salt Lake City Public Library – and constructing a new building next door.

Both groups of students will put their work on public display this month:

— About 65 students in Bioengineering 1102, Fundamentals of Bioengineering II, will present the exhibits and activities they designed during the week of April 14 in the foyer of the Engineering and Mines Classroom Building on the University of Utah campus. The students will be present with their exhibits from 1 to 2 p.m. Mon. April 14, Weds. April 16 and Fri. April 18.

— Students from the university’s Graduate School of Architecture have been working all semester on designs for renovating the old library and for building a new so-called Phase II building next door. The students will present their designs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fri. April 25 in the Urban Room of the new Salt Lake City Public Library, 212 E. 400 S., Salt Lake City.

The new library opened earlier this year, leaving the old main library building vacant. By late 2004, the Utah Science Center, Global Artways and the Center for Documentary Arts hope to occupy the old building, which will be known as The Leonardo at Library Square, after 15th century Italian scientist-inventor-artist Leonardo da Vinci.

The Leonardo at Library Square backers, led by Joe Andrade, a University of Utah distinguished professor of materials science and bioengineering, now are trying to raise $25 million for upgrading the old library’s seismic safety and plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems, and for remodeling the interior and developing exhibits. They later plan to raise funds for the Phase II building.

To help with the effort, Andrade’s bioengineering class was divided into 16 teams, each of which was assigned to design an interactive exhibit or activity for the center. The student-designed exhibits deal with such subjects as calorimetry (heat measurement), infections, measurement of blood flow and blood oxygen, body piercing and tattoos, electrocardiograms and electroencephalograms, fuel cells, blood sugar and diabetes, pulse rate and blood pressure, and even the physics of diapers.

Andrade said he hopes most of the projects will become exhibits in the Utah Science Center, where exhibits will focus on three major themes: “You,” meaning the people interacting with the exhibits; energy; and planet Earth as our home.

Meanwhile, students in Smith’s Architecture 6015 class, Comprehensive Building Project, were assigned to come up with designs for renovation of the old library and construction of a new, adjacent energy-efficient building to house the Utah Science Center.

During the April 25 event, they will present drawings and three-dimensional models of their proposed designs, Smith said. The new Phase II building is supposed to be a model for research, testing and demonstration of alternative and sustainable energy sources.

According to Utah Science Center backers, the facility will emphasize “creative and active exploration of the worlds of science and technology” and endeavor to “create a culture and environment for exploring the factors and phenomena that affect our lives and shape our future.” The center will allow visitors to “experience hundreds of highly interactive exhibits, live-action demonstrations, guided tours, Internet-based classrooms, collaborative activities with other institutions and more.”

For more information on the proposed Utah Science Center: