Right now you can see POPnology at the Telus World of Science until May. This feature exhibit is all about the interaction between pop culture and technology. It’s a matter of life imitating art and vice versa. From Jules Verne, to H.G. Wells, to Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov, there are plenty of examples of fiction inspiring science. Jules Verne imagined moon rockets and lasers. H.G. Wells predicted atomic bombs and radioactive fallout. Ray Bradbury thought of earbuds, self-driving cars, and ATMs. Isaac Asimov saw a future with automatic coffee makers and flatscreen TVs. The power of imagination has had a powerful influence on science.
There are numerous interactive displays filled with fascinating tidbits. Meet Baxter the robot. Acquaint yourself with virtual reality. See a 3D printed car in person and marvel at a machine that only took four days to complete. Go Back to the Future and check out a DeLorean outfitted with a “flux capacitor”. Take your picture (safely) with the HAL 9000. Start work with Ingen and practise handling dinosaur eggs for Jurassic Park. Or simply enjoy making infinite attempts on the Donkey Kong arcade cabinet.
Each wall features an interesting blurb about the interaction between science and pop culture. Just by walking around the room you’ll learn about 3D printed prosthetics, handling the Mars rover, and interplanetary communication. Learn how gamers managed to solve a genetic puzzle in weeks after scientists tried for a decade. Get excited for a possible future with maglev trains, a space elevator and flying cars (target date 2035). Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
My favourite display is a mock room from 1983. In front of the display is a panel with buttons. Push one and watch a narrative unfold inside the room. A spotlight shines on each piece of outdated technology needed to produce the same result as a smartphone. It’s informative and entertaining. The most remarkable differences between then and now are time and convenience. It’s astonishing how much technology has improved.
The most important lesson I learned from POPnology? Make sure to visit during one of the adult access nights. The upcoming nights are March 8, April 12 and May 4 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. If you’re really interested in adult events at the Telus World of Science, I recommend checking out Dark Matters. The next nights are March 8, May 17 and July 19 between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
– Arielle Trischuk