Sunday, March 29, 2009


When I walked out from Exit 5 of Seoul Grand Park Station (대공원역, 大公園驛), Line 4, the first thing that caught my eyes was not the futuristics-looking Gwacheon National Science Museum (국립과천과학관, 國立果川科學館) building but the big blue sky. The view was stunning and within split second, I could feel my mind opening out. Having an open mind was a good preamble to an afternoon of discovery and revelation.

The admission fee into the main premise is an affordable 4,000won and it is good value for money. The museum also provides PDA that gives English explanation of the exhibits. Explanation of exhibit is automatically activated through the use of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology so there is no need for button pressing.

Futuristics-looking Gwacheon National Science Museum building.

A sculpture of flying humans and atom hanging in the atrium. I didn't read the official explanation but I think what it is trying to depict is the close relationship between human and science.

One hall in the building is solely dedicated to exhibiting the research attainments by the various Korea's science and technology research institutes.

This is a 3D television. There is no need for goggle to see the 3-D effect but I got a headache after watching it for a while. HD TV is fine but I really doubt that 3D TV will catch on. Perhaps it may be too early to write it off completely.

There are two big halls dedicated to exhibiting advanced science and technology. I was in the bio-science section of the Advanced Science and Technology Hall 1.

It seems like Koreans have a special liking for this difficult English word - ubiquitous. In Konglish, it is 유비쿼터스. I was in the "Ubiquitous World" section. "Ubiquitous World" probably doesn't come through as something familiar to many of us. I thought it could have been simply called "Common Living Space".

This is a high-speed camera. I pressed the start button on the screen and recorded my hand clap. During the slow-motion playback, I could see my hands changing shape at the point of impact.

This station allows me to make a recording of myself like I am an announcer. There were some bar code samples which I could flash at the camera. However, what came out on the screen was not the bar code but some computer graphics.

This station works something like what you see in "Minority Report". First I raised my hand so that the camera/s can capture my hand. Once the computer traced out the shape of my hand, I could use my hand like a computer mouse and move the objects on the screen.

A flashy roadster, with red velvet interior, spotted at the Advanced Science and Technology Hall 2. 타고 싶다.

This roadster is used to show the future of car technology and it had a composite carbon fibres body, wiperless screen, airbag at the front bumper, movable head lamps, human machine interface and back view guidance.

A full-size model of the T-50 Golden Eagle, Korea's first locally-manufactured supersonic trainer jet, being exhibited at the aviation section.

A mock-up of the A380's cockpit

Here is the Natural History Hall. The hall has a few large-scale dinosaur fossil exhibits. Besides fossils, there are also live fishes swimming in large aquarium.

This is the Astronomy section in the Korean Traditional Science Hall.

This is 소간의 (小簡儀), an astronomical device which Joseon officials used to measure time via observing the movement of celestial bodies.

This is 일성정시의 (日星定時儀), another astronomical device used to measure time via observing the movement of sun and stars.

Wooden models of Korean ships used in the past.

A quiet corner inside the Korean Traditional Science Hall.

A model of the Klein bottle inside the Basic Science Hall. Like Möbius strip, the Klein bottle has no distinct outer and inner surface.

A Periodic Table - an important table which I could not live without during my university days.

This is an atom-and-bond model of Fullerene (C60) or Buckyball. Fullerence is one of the 3 allotropes of carbon. Fullerence contains 60 carbon atoms normally because C60 is a very stable configuration. Just like 60 minutes on the clock, 60 is like a "magic" number, a number that is highly divisible. You probably won't find another big number that is as divisible as 60. Fullerence, having 60 carbon atoms, exhibits high symmetry because it is highly divisible. In nature, high symmetry means low energy and great stability and hence a big molecule like Fullerence can exist. I was once fascinated by this molecule that I bought a book that wrote nothing else but it.

This is a Tesla Coil. It can generate magnificent electrical discharge that gives off a loud sound. The Tesla Coil is functional. There are several show times a day and I missed all of them.

Like any other respectable science centres in the world, Gwacheon National Science Museum includes an observatory in its backyard...

... and a Planetarium sitting on a pool of water.


  1. Why does it seem to empty ? No other visitors coz it wasn't the weekend ?

  2. that's right. it was a weekday afternoon and the place was almost closing for the day.