759   Visual presentation

Promoting the spirit of science through the history of science: Taking the "Shape of the Earth" exhibition of the Beijing Science Center as an example

Author: Hujun Yuan
Hefei TanAo Automation CO., LTD, China

We organized and summarized the history of human understanding regarding the shape of the Earth and designed it into a popular science exhibition, with the aim of presenting the spirit of science to the audience through the exhibition, as opposed to merely introducing historical knowledge.

The spirit of empirical knowledge is an important representation of the spirit of science. According to an ancient Chinese book from the 1st century BC, if the shadows of an eight-foot-tall pole in two different places differ in length by one chi (Chinese inch), the North-South distance between the two places is a thousand li (Chinese mile). People remained deeply convinced of such a statement, until the 8th century, when the monk Yi Xing of the Tang dynasty conducted large-scale geodetic surveys to determine the correct length of one radian of the Earth's meridian. In the exhibition, we described this part of history for the audience through an interactive wall. The wall interface is divided into four parts, which are respectively, background introduction, four points of measurement, production of observation tools, and calculating the results after conducting the measurement.  We will explain the concept and significance of "empirical knowledge" through this interactive process.

The "hypothesis" is an important concept in scientific research. During the 17th century, the British scientist Sir Isaac Newton and French scientist Giovanni Domenico Cassini respectively hypothesized that the Earth is an oblate spheroid and that the Earth is a prolate spheroid. To explain this concept, we set up virtual animated characters of Newton and Cassini. When the viewer approaches the corresponding area, a sensor will be activated, to present this famous battle of the "British Orange and French Lemon" to the audience by means of a projection, while also explaining the underlying concept of the hypothesis to the audience.

Co-author: Yajun Qi
Beijing Science Center, China

Co-author: Kun Li
Hefei TanAo Automation CO., LTD, China

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