Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations      HubGarden      Recipes
1 million Australian readers every month      list your event

Free Fall at Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre

Home > Canberra > School Holidays | School Holiday Activities | Museums | Fun Things To Do | Fun for Children
by Jordan Morris (subscribe)
Jordan is a freelance writer and teacher whose first novel was a quarterfinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, and the winning entry in the ACT Young and Emerging Writer Mentorship. His blog is here: www.hapax-legoman.livejournal.com
Published October 18th 2012
Photo Courtesy of Claire Gunton - wokoutwithyourfrockout.blogspot.com.au

Near the shore of Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin stands The National Science and Technology Centre (affectionately known as Questacon) - the modern, white complex with the spiralling annex that resembles the Tower of Pisa. The resemblance was pointed out to me by one of Questacon's Volunteer Explainers, a man who also informed me that Galileo was said to have investigated gravitational freefall four hundred years ago by dropping weights of different mass from the Tower of Pisa. I would have happily done that myself. What my kids wanted to do was drop me from a height of six metres - a fall from the third storey of the building.

By this point I had already stuck my head in a guillotine, been hit by caged lighting and attacked by a virtual shark. (And - to be fair - Questacon had made these aspects of science almost as enjoyable for me as they'd been for my children.) Still, my 'fight or flight response' had gotten more than enough of a workout for one day without facing its fear of heights. My arguments against being a 'hands on' part of the Free Fall exhibit were swiftly rebuked - I wasn't the wrong age (I'm older than five) and I wasn't the wrong height (I'm taller than 110 centimetres). Thus, I theorised that if my kids could do it (and they had... twice) then so could I.

And so I found myself dressed in Questacon overalls, with the mutant offspring of ballet slippers and a disposable hairnet on my feet. My hands clenched tightly around the metal bar from which I hung in midair. I didn't look down. And then I listened through the sound of my own heartbeat for the signal to drop.

The freefall lasted for less than one petrifying second before I merged with the slide that decelerated me to a standstill.

I bet Galileo never did that, I told the Explainer at the other end.

The Explainer explained that Galileo never even dropped weights from the Tower of Pisa. Apparently it was a 'thought experiment' he proved the point without actually doing the experiment.

If only I'd thought of that.

For more information, visit the website.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  13
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Your Comment
More Canberra articles
Articles from other cities
Foodi Photoh Classie
Top Events
Popular Articles
Categories
Lists
Questions