Science may be viewed as one of the most boring subjects we have to study at school, however, as with most subjects, it really depends on how the lessons are taught. If science is your passion, you may decide to go on to study it at college or university, perhaps even continuing your studies at a specialist institute.
In these cases, you’ll be more likely to experience the really exciting, interesting elements of science, rather than focusing on memorizing the Periodic Table and the occasional experiment with a Bunsen Burner. Below are some of the world’s coolest science labs, where students learn about, amongst other things, space exploration, explosives and toy design!
Space Case: Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Pasadena, California
You could build a spacecraft to explore the Solar System at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) manages the lab on behalf of the United States federal space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The JPL constructs robotic spacecraft that are used in unmanned missions to explore deep space and Earth orbits. It explores the Universe using radio astronomy and runs an interplanetary communications network, the Deep Space Network, to support spacecraft missions. The lab runs summer and internship programmes for science and engineering students.
You can cultivate an interest in extra-terrestrial bodies by learning about astronomy and watching the stars at night.
Big Bangs: Missouri University of Science and Technology Experimental Mine Lab
If you like fireworks and big bangs, then the Missouri University of Science and Technology Experimental Mine lab is the place for you. Mining engineers learn how to make explosions that create clean quarry walls, how to demolish buildings like a stack of cards and make small precision bombs.
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has to check you out before you can join a course. The lab offers the first ever course in explosives engineering. Some students who have their eyes on working in the film industry learn how to create firework displays and explosions for movie sets. The lab has its own mining rescue team to teach about emergencies.
Smash and Crash: George Washington University Crash Analysis Center
All those rides in bumper cars at fairgrounds can inspire a teenager to become a crash analyst. Learn how to smash vehicles at the George Washington University Crash Analysis Center. Every student in this lab who works on transportation safety gets a car and has to tear the vehicle to pieces.
The idea is to model and remodel a crash using computer simulation. The laboratory design is such that it has developed a sophisticated understanding of the human body’s response to full-scale crashes. This tests the strength of crash barriers on highways and develops new safety standards for vehicles.
Bug Life: Northern Kentucky University’s Barton Lab
Most children enjoy getting dirty and many of them love bugs. Parents need not despair as one day their little scamp may become a geologist. Then he can spend his time in even more muck as he looks for oil or examines environmental conditions on Mars.
Northern Kentucky University’s Barton Lab sends its students down a labyrinth of caves in South America to find bats, bugs and microbes. The students learn how the bugs thrive, how ground pollution affects them and if they could develop on the planet Mars.
Toy Time: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Toy Lab
Keep those childhood toys in a safe place. One day, their owner may learn to become a toy designer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Toy Lab. Every year, new students are placed with a number of teams that design a specific toy.
It can be a robot, a spaceman, a game of tag or a one-wheeled skateboard. You can try throwing the bubble-making frisbee or play in the bath with an illuminated jellyfish. The lab invites children to visit and test the final product. Why not take your kids for a fun and educational trip there?