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Indiana Exhibit Explores Science Behind Natural Disasters
Indiana Ag Connection - 03/20/2017

Purdue University has partnered with the Indiana State Museum to support a traveling exhibition that explores the science behind natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and tsunamis.

Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters at the Indiana State Museum opened Saturday, and is an immersive and interactive traveling exhibition on loan from the Field Museum in Chicago. Purdue's Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences is a partner for the exhibition and will sponsor a variety of interactive activities during a special Purdue Week from March 20-24.

More than one thousand elementary school students are expected to visit the museum during Purdue Week, which will feature interactive activities that will interest people of any age. Young students might be able to step inside a machine that simulates the windy conditions of a nearby tornado, while visitors of any age might take interest in watching a cloud be made in a bottle or an air pressure demonstration that crushes a can.

"Any time we do an event for the public, one of our main goals is to excite people about science," said Steven Smith, outreach coordinator for Purdue's Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. "We want people to be knowledgeable. We want them to be excited and not only have a better understanding of how things work in science, but to create a better appreciation in the science behind it."

The interactive activities during Purdue Week might change daily, depending on the faculty and students volunteering, with the intent of matching activities with their specific field of study.

"I'm bringing people who are excited about it," Smith said. "They volunteer for this; it's not part of their studies or something they get paid for. They volunteer because they're excited and passionate about what they're studying. And it's hard not to get excited when they start explaining their research and what they're passionate about studying."

Students and faculty from a wide variety of disciplines within the Purdue EAPS department will volunteer during the week.

"That way if there are high school kids or adults that want us to go into more detail about the science behind extreme weather, we're going to be able to do that," Smith said.

Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters will run at the Indiana State Museum through May 29.

The Indiana State Museum is at 650 W. Washington St., Indianapolis. Exhibition gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the museum is $13 for adults, $12 for seniors, $9.75 for college students with a valid identification, and $8.50 for children ages 3-17. Admission is free for children under the age of 3. Visit https://www.indianamuseum.org/visit for more information.

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