During Sukkot vacation, we decided to visit Bloomfield Science Museum (official site) in Jerusalem. There are standard reasons for visiting such museums. Like kids on vacation and learning new things (i.e., opening new horizons). But, beyond those reasons, we had additional motivation. It is the bicycle exhibition. Let’s start the visit!
Map of the area:
Parking And Other Preparations
Parking in many regions of Jerusalem can be problematic. There is free parking in front of Bloomfield Science Museum, but there are not many places there (about two dozen of spaces). You can park on the nearby street as well, but it is not free, and there are few spaces there. Thus, my solution was simple, come early. Or more specifically come when the museum opens.
The second tip is to check the official website for different events and workshops. During our visit, we participated in one free class. We also saw another paid course, but since we were not aware of it taking place, we have not bought tickets in advance.
At Bloomfield Science Museum
This interactive type of sundial developed in the 16th century, and it is called Analemmatic sundial. When you stand on on the date border, your shadow will show the time.
Since I did not find any coupons or discounts online, we bought regular tickets at the cashier and headed inside.
In the reflection of these mirrors, you can see an information stand. You can find general information there and the timetable of workshops.
Discovering Levers Exhibition
And this is pulley lift. It demonstrates how you can easily lift heavy things using pulleys. In the far end, a person stands in the elevator, and you can pull either using the straight rope or use a cord that goes through all the pulleys. And while using the straight one, you can barely lift, using the cable that goes through all the pulleys kids can elevate their parents.
There were several sugar workshops during this day. The duration of each class was about twenty minutes, and the content was pretty impressive. The problem was they were continually having technical difficulties. First, the microphone did not work. Then it barely worked, but the computer did not work. But I learned several interesting things.
Secondly, water with sugar is denser than regular water. Thus if you put a regular cola can in the water, it will drown. But if you put cola zero, then the can will be floating (there is no sugar in zero. Instead there are some sugar replacements).
You can all use this method to find out how much sugar there is in a product. Our guide put cherry tomatoes into the water, and of course, they drowned. But, then he added some sugar to the water and stirred it. And repeated this process until around seven tablespoons of sugar were added to the water. At this stage, the tomatoes floated. Floating means that the amount of sugar in the tomatoes and the water is equal.
When the sugar workshop ended we climbed up to the second floor and found there Electricity Exhibition
Most of the exhibits in Bloomfield Science Museum are interactive and aimed at kids. In the solar airplanes exhibit, for example, there were lights next to the ceiling. And using one of the three rotatable mirrors, you can reflect the light to the solar panels of planes. As light hits the solar panels, the aircraft starts to move.
If you take a closer look at their faces, then you will see it is the same face.
Are you still reading this? I was afraid that I would lose some of the readers after the previous photo 🙂
Did you know that the first bicycle did not have pedals? The original design was to push yourself with legs.
I found an entertaining short movie about the bicycle exhibition at the official site. And here it is.
The exhibition is divided into several topics and spread around about a half dozen rooms.
After seeing the oldest bicycles and riding google street views tricycle with two TV and a fan we continued into the innovation area.
China is one of the leaders of bicycle usage. In the 70’s over 60% of the population traveled by bicycles. In recent years this number dropped to 12%. And the latest trend in China is bicycle sharing.
This corner was devoted to folding bikes. The trend of folding bikes is going to increase in the upcoming years as it improves mobility and allows people to combine trains and other types of public transport with bikes.
Have you ever heard about Sandwichbike? The concept is somewhat similar to IKEA. Here is what they say at the official site:
Would you have believed that two wooden panels could deliver the funkiest ride there is? We did, and we dubbed it the Sandwichbike. A Dutch Design original that was inspired by the concept of flat packing, home assembly, and our never-ending drive to create exceptional products. To enable you to build it yourself, we engineered a ‘sandwich’ of two weather coated frames of layered plywood. Bonded together by ‘smart cylinders’, the frames and components become a durable rock-solid piece of technology.
Pedaling With Your Hands
Today we do not think about bicycles as freedom providers. But, in the past, they were more than pure vehicles. Moreover, I heard once about a study that said: human genome diversified following the invention of the bicycle. They saw that the average distance between the original houses of newlyweds increased significantly (unfortunately I was unable to find this study online).
Bikes in Africa
In Africa, access to bicycles can have a significant impact on humans. Thus in recent years, many new projects started to appear. One of them is Ghana’s bamboo bicycles. They use bamboo as a frame material which is light, sturdy and grown next to the bicycle factories. All these reasons categorize bamboo bikes as social projects. They are both environmentally sustainable and develop the local industry.
If we are talking about bamboo, then I should also mention cardboard. Later in this exhibition, we saw Izhar Gafni’s, an Israeli mechanical engineer, cardboard bicycle.
In 2012, Izhar Gafni unveiled a prototype bicycle made almost entirely out of cardboard. The bike weighs 9.1 kg and is treated to be fireproof and waterproof. Reports said that the bike could support riders up to 220 kilograms. It has solid rubber tires made from recycled car tires.
In one of the interviews, I saw they designated the bike to low-income countries with the price tag around 20 USD.
Here is Draisine ‘Reverse Steering’ bike, meaning turning handlebar to one side steers the front wheel to the other side. It was created at around 1820, and as these were the first years after bicycle invention, there was no standard mechanism. Thus, for people at that period learning to ride reverse steering bicycle was the same as learning to ride the standard bike.
‘lunartic’ by Luke Douglas from the UK is one of the entries in “Seoul cycle design competition 2010”.
According to Luke:
lunartic is a compact urban bicycle concept exploring the unique combination of different wheel sizes, a toothed belt drive and hubless rear wheel. ‘lunartic’ places itself in a niche between existing bicycle solutions: compact without folding, easy to ride and handle, stylish and comfortable
Why? The gyroscopic effect of a large wheel helps it travel faster and more contact with the road provides a stable and comfortable ride, whereas small wheels save space, weight and are more maneuverable. Belt drives are clean and maintenance-free and a hubless wheel creates a whole new space, as well as an intriguing aesthetic.
How? The combination of these features is a new balance of ride quality, space saving, style, and convenience. Moving the working parts back, inside the rear wheel shortens the wheelbase but maintains large wheel performance. There is no sacrifice to conventional or efficient geometry apart from a low center of gravity and stand over height.
The Flying Cigar
We are all familiar with Wright brothers and their airplane. What is less known is the fact that Wright brothers were also bicycle retailers and manufacturers. In 1892 the brothers opened a repair and sales shop and in 1896 began manufacturing their brand. Their experience with bicycles not only influenced their belief that an unstable vehicle like a flying machine could be controlled with practice but also inspired them while building airplane models (they used similar parts and related concepts).
We can see the connection between bicycles and planes once again when we look at Eduard Baumhauer. Eduard (Rotterdam, 30 May 1920 – the North Sea, 27 February 1941) was the eldest son of the Dutch aviation pioneer Albert Gillis von Baumhauer. In 1939 he started studying physics at the Technische Hogeschool Delft. And it is believed that during this period Eduard created the Flying Cigar. Not much is know about Eduard, but fortunately, the sketchbook, photos, and the original Flying Cigar survived. Eduard was not that lucky. Soon after the beginning of German occupation, he went into the resistance. At some point during the war, Eduard wanted to reach England. Together with Arnold Cohen, he converted a canoe into a motorboat. They left on February 25, 1941, and during their sail, a strong storm hit the North Sea, causing both of them both to drown.
Softwheel is an Israeli startup, and they want to reinvent the wheel. This wheel has Adaptive In-Wheel Suspension System. The three suspension arms inside the rim are designed to absorb energy from any obstacle. SoftWheel’s three shock absorbers work together to reset more quickly and absorb more shocks and vibrations over the same distance and time. Moreover, the shock absorbers adapt to the terrain – on flats they remain rigid like spokes, but over bumps, they compress to absorb impact.
Credits: official site
We left the bicycle exhibition and passed next to museum’s entrance. There we saw kids show in progress. We were expecting a show since we visited during Sukkot vacation, it is just pity that we were not aware of the excat time in advance.
After seeing the last ten minutes of the show, we headed back to Structures Exhibition.
As in all previous exhibitions, there were many hands-on parts. Here is, for example, Leonardo bridge. It is unique since assembling it does not require any additional materials besides wood. No need for glue, nails, bolts or anything similar. Anyway, there is an assembled model, and you need to construct a new one using provided parts. Luckily just a week before the visit I saw a short movie online where two people showed how they assemble Leonardo bridge. Thus I was able to gather it within several minutes and show off before my wife and daughter. But I have no proof for my readers. Two seconds after I finished the construction, some kids came and took it apart.
AI And Computers Exhibition
About nine months ago I participated in a computer science conference. The closing lecture was by a professor for Hebrew university (unfortunately I do not remember his name). And that lecture started with a question: “will computers learn to love?”. One of the goals of this lecture was to convince the auditorial that they will. And in one of the slides the professor told about the following installation.
As you can see, there are two doors, and you pass through the right one if you think they will and through the left otherwise. There are counters on the sides of the doors and this way you can get crowdsourced intelligence. I was in the proximity of these doors for about ten minutes. Most of the passes were made by kids who can not read, tired museum workers that look for the shortest path and adults who do not see the signs. I have not seen anybody reading the signs and choosing the doors accordingly. In the lecture, it sounded cool, but the reality is entirely different. That is the difference between marketing and research in a nutshell. Thus I would not take into account such crowdsourced intelligence.
Fields Of Tomorrow Exhibition
FIELDS OF TOMORROW reveals the scientific background, intensive research, and intriguing ideas being developed in Israel and the world in response to the need to deal with the issue of feeding the world.
Field laboratory, food laboratory, and science laboratory – these three aspects come together in the exhibition. Food crops are grown in a hothouse, a greenhouse, and cultivated areas. Artworks are included in the exhibition under the title Agripolis – a fusion of art and science.
Our last activity was a workshop for kids. Different colors represent different atoms, and kids can assemble various molecules according to provided instructions. Or for younger kids, just construct something.
It was already late, and we decided to head home. Thus, we skipped bicycle riding in the yard of Bloomfield Museum and headed back.
Our visit to Bloomfield Science Museum took about four hours.
Bloomfield Science Museum is an excellent attraction for kids. There are plenty things to do and see. And there are many hands-on exhibits. My daughter enjoyed it a lot, and we will return in several years.
Moreover, according to the official website, the museum is open on Saturdays. That is a big plus since most of the attractions in Jerusalem closed during this day.
Have you ever been to Bloomfield Science Museum In Jerusalem? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
For additional points of interest nearby check out Jerusalem page.