Western Trips

Western Trips

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bradbury Science Museum In Los Alamos / A Low Budget Educational And Interactive Family Experience

The Bradbury Science Museum is located in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the heart of the world renown Los Alamos National Laboratory. The museum is filled with highly interesting exhibits for people of all ages, young and old. You'll also find a good amount of interactive displays that are a hit with many of the younger visitors. The admission to the museum is free. That's called traveling on a budget.

Los Alamos and the Manhatten Project

The Los Alamos area was the center of the Manhatten Project during the early 1940's. Many prominent scientists made Los Alamos their home during this period including the director of the project, Robert Oppenheimer, and the laboratory is a fully functioning national laboratory still today. The Bradbury Museum houses many artifacts and documents pertaining to the Manhatten Project. The picture below left is of the first nuclear detonation at the Trinity Site in the White Sands area of southern New Mexico on July 16th, 1945.

The museum is named after the laboratory's second director Norris E. Bradbury. The two pictures below right are of the labs first director, J. Robert Oppenheimer at top and Norris Bradbury below it. Norris Bradbury served as director from 1945 to 1970.

There are several university and corporate affiliations with the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Some of these include UCLA, University of California in Berkeley, Bechtel Corporation, The Rand Corporation, Stanford University, University of Florida and several others.

Los Alamos National Laboratory

The Los Alamos National Laboratory is currently the largest employer in northern New Mexico and has a 2.9 billion dollar impact on New Mexico's economy. It is one of two national laboratories in the U.S. which does work on nuclear weaponry. The other is the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California about 25 miles east of San Francisco. Both laboratories are closely involved in a variety of research projects with top universities.

With it's supercomputers, the laboratory has been and is involved with projects such as the Human Gnome Program and houses a genetic database that serves as a national repository for genetic sequence information. This project is in conjunction with the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Health. Part of this program studies the function of genes and their interaction with each other.

Other projects conducted at the lab have been a study to provide electricity from solar energy to a large part of northern New Mexico as well as experiments on the efficiency of solar powered energy. Much of this work is accomplished using the labs supercomputers and there is now a very interesting supercomputer exhibit on display at the Bradbury Science Museum. I think you'll find this exhibit quite educational.

Another project at the lab is a joint effort with the Sandia National laboratories to help small business overcome technical challenges. Businesses can take advantage of this program at no cost.

To help educate and present new information to the public, the Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows present The Frontiers In Science lecture series. Typical subjects may include wind power. An interesting fact presented in this lecture is that wind power in the United States could satisfy ten times our current power needs but as of now only 2% is being provided by this source. Scientists are currently studying new turbine designs that could produce much more renewable and reliable energy.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is involved in much more than it's 1940's Manhatten Project beginnings. The Bradbury Science Museum is an excellent way to learn more about the types of research undertaken at the lab. You will also want to check out their list of events. These include everything from informative lectures from a variety of experts as well as summer programs for children. A great way to both learn and have a good time.

Los Alamos is located about a thirty minute northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The drive is very picturesque as you wind your way through the mountains. Bandelier National Monument is located just a few miles south of Los Alamos making it a good companion destination before or after visiting the museum.

A very unique stop while traveling between the Santa Fe and Taos New Mexico area is El Sancturario de Chimayo, one of the world's most visited shrines.

Make your next western U.S. road trip an educational and fun experience. Visiting the Bradbury Science Museum is an excellent way to do that and it's very low-budget. The site below gives more details and directions and lists all events, exhibits and lectures.


Get your New Mexico vacation guide at    www.newmexico.org/guide

(Article copyright Western trips. Photos and images in public domain)

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