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Science CenterAstronomy is one of the oldest of the natural sciences, and it is said to be the "noblest". A quite young and related field is space science that explores the technical abilities to bring us closer to the Cosmos. Children are impressed by both branches, when they develop their own identity and get confronted with the view of the world. Astronomy offers a starting point for many other topics in natural sciences. While the planetarium fascinates with the starry sky and show effects, a science center puts the basic scientific phenomena into practice. The combination of a Planetarium and a Science Center is close at hand. Different to a classical museum, the Science Center does not present original exhibits, but commodities to be utilised for experiments. The learning effect focuses on the personal confrontation with the phenomenon. From the didactical point of view, this direct experience of science leaves behind a sustained knowledge of the technical processes.


The first Science Center was the "Exploratiorium" opened in San Francisco in 1969. Now, more than 500 Science Centers exist in North America, many of them integrate a planetarium. Several European contries followed that example, e.g. La Villette in Paris, Thinktank in Birmingham, or Heureka in Helsinki. In Germany, the development of the Science Centers started in 1982 with opening of the "Spectrum" in Berlin. Today, only the Deutsches Museum in Munich incorporates a large astronomical section as well as a planetarium. This facility, founded in 1903, is considered a semi-classical museum with just one floor for interactive experiments in chemistry, most other exhibits are non-interactive. More information on Science Centers in Germany can be found at:
http://www.science-museum.de/

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