HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — A team of more than 20 Dynetics employees undertook a feat two years ago to build a permanent exhibit at Sci-Quest, Hands-on Science Center that would be both educational and interactive.
Selecting the electromagnetic spectrum as the subject, the all-volunteer effort would spend early mornings formulating a plan and design while late nights and weekends were reserved for building the 32-foot-long, 10-foot-high by 8-foot-wide exhibit. But the challenge was to visually present the topic in a way children can fully understand and apply to their lives.
On Monday afternoon, Sci-Quest staff, Dynetics employees and community members witnessed the unveiling of the Electromagnetic Spectrum exhibit or what Andy Crocker calls their “labor of love.”
“It’s been two years since we sat down and worked on this,” said Crocker, propulsion department manager at Dynetics and vice chair of Sci-Quest Board of Directors. “(I) look back now and see we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
“Honestly, I thought we were going to have a little thing in the corner with flashing lights and things to push and pull,” he joked.
The exhibit focuses on teaching the major elements of the electromagnetic spectrum and how it plays a critical role in our daily lives. The display illustrates the seven frequency bands – visible light, infrared radiation, ultraviolet rays, gamma rays, X-rays, radio waves and microwave radiation – that describe electromagnetic radiation.
Using a hands-on approach, the exhibit brings an “understandable realism” to the concepts where both children and the family can enjoy. One section of the installation includes a display of solar-powered robots to an infrared camera that takes photos of visitors and emails it to them.
Sci-Quest will unveil new permanent exhibit at its facility, which is built and sponsored by Dynetics. The new exhibit focus on the energy that is all around us known as the electromagnetic spectrum (The Huntsville Times/Dave Dieter).
“These contributions make Sci-Quest a better place,” said Randy Lycans, board president of Sci-Quest. “On behalf of the Sci-Quest board and staff, we want to thank Dynetics and individual employees who worked so hard to make this happen.
“We are truly fortunate to have this exhibit at Sci-Quest,” he said.
After spending months deciding on what the exhibit would be and then months on a conceptual design, Crocker said he’s proud of the exhibit and was “amazed at every member of the team” who devoted time to the installation.
Dynetics, a science and engineering company based in Huntsville that regularly works on projects spanning the electromagnetic spectrum, sponsored, built and paid for the entire exhibit’s costs.
“Our hope is this display is seen by thousands and thousands of children,” said Dr. Marc Bendickson, Dynetics CEO. “Maybe it will inspire them to build radars or be a laser engineer.”