I have every other Friday off so I will usually do all my errands then while everyone else is at work. Usually after my errands I'll go do something, usually something new to explore. Well this Friday I fed the geeky scientist in me. Washington D.C. has a small science museum that is run by the National Academy of Sciences (the most prestigous science advisory board in this country). It's small because it's only one floor and only has three exhibits; it's also very inexpensive. Five dolloars for a general adult admission, not too bad if I say so. Anyways, the reason I wanted to visit it is because the exhibits are updated frequentlybased on the current science issues that the Academy is dealing with. So that's the basis of my story.
I arrived at the museum around 1pm, after a morning of grocery and department store shopping. I had a coupon for a dollar off my admission and handed it to the workers. Well this coupon was good for four people, and unfortunately I didn't have four people. First off, it was Friday and people were at work, and secondly, of all my friends, including those here in DC and scattered all across this world, I am the true geek. I am the one who gets excited about plants, diseases, and chemistry. I'm the weird person who at age 24 asks for an astronomy book for Christmas, and am a hugh science fiction fan. Yeah, an ultimate geek. Ergo I told them that was the geek among my friends and so decided to come on my own. The workers then laughed and the manager asked laughingly was I truly a geek. I then replied, with a smile, I'm a huge geek and I have no problem admitting it. I then, thusly, proceeded into the museum.
For any normal person they would have probably got through the museum in about an hour to an hour and a half. I spent about two and half hours in there, and there were only three exhibits to see. However, they were three amazing exhibits. The first was called "The Wonders of Science" and showed a video clip of various different things in nature that we're learning about and discovering. Science, astronomy, nature, biology were all encompassed and discussed. It was nice to watch it. The next exhibit was a new and controversial one. This was the global warming exhibit. It was objectively done, which is a rare feat, and discussed the issue, possible solutions, how it has occured, and human's role in it. There were many visual interactions, videos, and personal responses that engaged the visitor. For such a major issue, they did a great job with it, plus it fed into my environmentalist role. The final exhibit is a very public health one and had that written all over it. This was the infectious disease exhibit. The exhibit discussed how vaccines first came about, why they work on certain diseses and not on others. It then talked about emerging disease problems such as drug resistance and virsus and went into heavy detail about the two major ones: HIV and malaria. Again it was a nice exhibit with pictures, videos, pictures, and personal interaction.
Therefore, overall for a very small museum I was thoroughly surprised and impressed. However, upon leaving I got an even further delight. The manager had his workers give me gift bag of science DVDs since I was such a "geek". The nice bag contained six DVDS on various science issues such as evolution, microbes, DNA, and other issues. I haven't watched them but probably will sometime. In the meantime, I was surprised by their sincerity; it made my day.
So for a geek I had a great day and not just because I fed the scientist in me, but do to generosity and the niceness in people. It's a lesson for all of us.