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All Wrapped Up in Science

This article appeared in the July 22, 2016 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

All Wrapped Up in Science

Fruit mummies in the making at Summer Science Camp. Photo by Lisa Justice.

 

By Lisa Justice

Special to the Enterprise

 

Explorit’s Summer Science Camps are going strong, providing numerous opportunities for stimulating curiosity and exploration in tomorrow’s scientists. This week budding engineers studied the natural marvels of feathers and applied what they’d learned by designing and constructing a variety of flying wonders.

 

Meanwhile young explorers delved into the wonders of energy and unseen forces in our world such as electricity and magnetism. They have experimented with channeling this energy into devices that can power homes, move objects and make our world work!

 

Then in the afternoons, campers have sampled a variety of sciences from oceanography to archaeology, honing math and verbal skills along the way—two of the most important tools of a scientist! We’ve designed and built castles, learned to read topographical maps and discovered how volcanic activity can change the Earth’s topography.

 

And you can join in the fun at home by traveling back to ancient Egypt with us through the wonders of archaeology and learn how Egyptians preserved their dead with mummification. For over two thousand years, Egyptians practiced wrapping and preserving their dead through mummification.

 

Mummification is the process of preserving a body by removing internal organs that will decay quickly and drying and wrapping what’s left. Many human bodies were preserved this way, but ancient Egyptians also mummified cats, birds and other animals as well.

 

A key part of mummification is drying out the body’s tissues so they don’t decay. Egyptians would fill empty parts of the body cavity and cover the outside of the body with a kind of salt called natron.

 

You can observe how quickly and efficiently salt can dry things out with this quick experiment at home. Fill a small cup with rock salt or kosher salt and stir in a spoonful of baking soda. Then place a fresh or frozen berry or other small piece of thin-skinned fruit in the cup, covering it up with the salt and baking soda mix.

 

Check on your berry in a few hours, in a day, in two days. How has it changed? Why? Would you want to eat it now? Does it look the same as if you’d just left it on a plate? What difference does the salt make?

 

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Explorit’s coming events:

 

  • Explorit’s Exploration Gallery is open to the public every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m. and every Friday, 3:00-6:00 p.m.  Admission is $5.00 per person; Explorit members, teachers and children 2 and under are free. Come check out the new Nano Mini Exhibition!
  • Explorit needs your tin cans! Please save and bring any empty and clean food cans to Explorit for use in amazing science projects!
  • Save the date—Sunday, August 28 for Final Blast! More details to come!
  • Join us on Wednesday, September 7 at DMG Mori’s auditorium at 7:00 p.m. for a free public lecture with Thor Hanson, author of Feathers: Evolution of a Natural Miracle.
  • Save the date for Explorit’s Major Fall Fundraiser with Andrea Wulf, author of The Invention of Nature: How Alexander von Humboldt Revolutionized Our World at the Veterans Memorial Theater on Friday, October 28. Ticketing information to follow.
  • Summer Science Camp registration is open now! Visit www.explorit.org for all the details.
  • Interested in helping out the community through board membership? Explorit is currently seeking individuals in the community to serve as members of our volunteer board. Please call or email for additional information on how to apply.
  • Interested in membership?  Think your Explorit membership may have lapsed?  Call Explorit at 530-756-0191 to check or sign up!
  • Birthdays are back at Explorit!  Call Explorit at 530-756-0191 for more information or to book your party.

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Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit http://www.explorit.org, or “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/explorit.fb.

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