Office of Research Exploratorium and UC Davis Partnership - Office of Research

Exploratorium and UC Davis Partnership

By AJ Cheline

February 22, 2016

The University of California, Davis, and the Exploratorium in San Francisco have partnered to expand and enhance the science, technology, and public audience networks of both institutions.  Through collaboration, the partnership provides both institutions with access to new expertise, technologies, education and research opportunities.

The Exploratorium is well known for offering creative, thought-provoking exhibits and experiences that ignite curiosity, encourage exploration, and lead to profound learning.  By collaborating with the Exploratorium, UC Davis has the opportunity to showcase the importance and potential impact of the cutting-edge research that is conducted at the university. The exchange will also facilitate the incorporation of the latest research and scientific innovations to enhance and inform the museum’s exhibits and programs.

The partnership offers several modes of interaction for UC Davis faculty and students to participate in the collaboration including speaking engagements, demonstrations, discussion panels, joint research proposal development, staff/student/faculty exchanges and co-development of hands-on exhibits.

Examples of how UC Davis and the Exploratorium are already working together include:

  • “Plankton Populations,” an exhibit created at the Exploratorium in collaboration with Kwan- Liu Ma, director of the UC Davis Center for Visualization, and the Darwin Project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On display since Spring 2013 when the Exploratorium moved to its new location at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero, the interactive exhibit uses data visualizations and touch interactions to allow users to explore plankton populations around the world.
  • The Wired Pier initiative at the Exploratorium helps connect visitors to the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean by using in-water sensors to collect information about temperature, salinity, clarity, acidity and more. That data is linked to parallel measurements at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, yielding new insights into exchanges and connections between the bay and the ocean.
  • The Energy Efficiency Center at UC Davis and the Exploratorium are collaborating on new ways to manage and demonstrate energy efficient technologies. The partnership is working to tell the story of zero net energy buildings and communities, benefiting from work done at the LEED Platinum-certified Exploratorium building and also from UC Davis West Village, the nation’s largest planned zero net energy community. West Village also houses several of the university’s energy research centers, including EEC.
  • Market Days: A Breed Apart Dog Show and Tell with UC Davis Veterinary School  Learn about the evolution of dog skulls with Dr. Frank Verstraete. He’ll discuss reconstructive surgeries and the ways a skull can reveal health and life history.
  • Conversations About Landscape Series  This evening series, presented in the Exploratorium’s Bay Observatory, brings together practitioners from the fields of geography, ecology, environmental sciences, policy, design, and the arts to grapple with issues that shape contemporary landscapes. Speakers present their work and engage in a conversation that includes members of the audience. Water and the California Drought: Watershed Science, History and the Policy of Scarcity: a panel of experts discussing the implications of drought and water use decisions on people, salmon and the landscapes of California. Professor Jay Lund was the opening speaker and framed the discussions about the water systems in California. Another featured speaker was Felicia Marcus, Chair of the California State Water Resources Board.

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