Tesla Coils, Slides and a Chemistry Bar Make up the Science Museum's New Wonderlab

By Gary Cutlack on at

London's popular Science Museum has an entire new fun wing under development, with the £6m Wonderlab set to open for business this October. It's much bigger than the existing Launchpad interactive science space, and will include Tesla coils, a 7m long Friction Slide, a fibreoptic orrery (moving mechanical star array), vibrating sound pods and lots of new things designed to make science even more appealing to our digital native kids than it already is.

The Electrical area (main pic) will house a Van der Graaff generator as well as the Tesla coil, which will be worth the admission price alone, especially if you get to shock people (you won't; health and safety). And look, it has chairs to teach children all about gravity and how when you get old all you really ever want to do at places like this is have a sit down.

The friction slide. Presumably one side makes you go down fast and the other's a slow ride, like on carpet. Going down a slide is not an accurate depiction of the working life of a scientist. They rarely go down slides, spending most of their time doing hard sums about gravity or seeing if perfume makes mice go blind.

This is a big flappy-around thing, designed to show how sound waves work. The Science Museum, being all modern and all and popular with the kids, has put an animated GIF on its Twitter page showing how the actual device looks in action. Seems to have the potential to rip an enquiring young arm off.

This room is called Step Into Light. It'll teach young kids about shadows and light beams, also simulating what it'll be like when they go to university and sit in a dark room all day smoking drugs and playing video games. They also seem to have captured some clouds, which can't be environmentally sound.

There will also be live science demonstrations, with staff doing wacky chemistry things as if they're on YouTube. October 12 is when it opens for serious play business. [Science Museum]

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