Letter: Support the new Aspen Science Center | AspenTimes.com
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Letter: Support the new Aspen Science Center

Support the new Science Center

The Aspen City Council did a terrific job Tuesday; an open session for ideas from the public about the future of the Old Power House. What a great demonstration of the best of open government!

I made a presentation from the Aspen Science Center. We want to convert the Old Power House into a world-class discovery center that will engage both children and adults in journeys of discovery about our world. The well-known Exploratorium in San Francisco is committed to working with us to create a world-class center in Aspen.



I have a dream of this discovery center as a major component of the Aspen idea of mind, body and spirit.

It includes an outdoor discovery park between the Rio Grande Trail and the Roaring Fork with interactive experiences on the effects of light, sound, wind, water and sky, including a solar telescope displaying the sun with its flares and sun spots. Teens may gather around a fire pit that is really hundreds of individual flames driven in complex patterns by the variable frequency and intensity of the teens’ music.



On a patio adjacent to a small cafe, parents will enjoy a latte as their children’s play leads to discovery about fluid flow, or levers, or swings operating as coupled pendula.

Inside will be more interactive, ever-changing exhibits, including a tinker center with tools and materials where children will be led to follow their imaginations in building and exploring various devices from simple machines to electronic circuits. At computers with advanced software, children will create videos illustrating their stories, explore computer graphics, or write code controlling their robots. Chefs will lead classes on the science of cooking.

Buses will bring school kids for a few hours of exploration among the many hands-on exhibits.

Aspen Music Festival and School musicians may lead children and adults exploring the interplay of music and the science of sound and artists may help them explore how creativity drives art, science and engineering. The Aspen Science Center will develop joint educational programs in collaboration with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Buddy Program, Anderson Ranch, Aspen Music Festival and others.

As a community facility, the center will have spaces available to other nonprofits for meetings, lectures, movies, rehearsals, performances and the like. Daytime exhibit rooms may host an evening ACES lecture or a theater performance, a weekend Aspen Global Change Institute conference or kids’ birthday parties featuring entertaining learning experiences as well as ice cream and cake.

Teachers and parents working with center staff will design new programs appropriate to their kids to inspire their studies to develop careers in science, engineering, technology and mathematics.

I have a dream of this community coming together to advise and support the center in creating a unique resource, a legacy that we’ll leave for future generations and that will amaze visitors to Aspen.

Join me in the endeavor to convert the Old Power House into a world-class discovery center.

Mike Simmons

Chair, Aspen Science Center


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