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Witnessing Earth’s destruction at the Eugenides

By Iphigenia Diamanti

A huge cloud of dust covers the sun, shrouding the Earth in darkness for days, weeks, months. What happened? A massive asteroid crash. Everything has changed in the year 2262, and the explosion of the asteroid has razed 11,500 kilometers of forestland. How does the crash affect the global climate and affect life forms on the planet?

The Eugenides Foundation’s new interactive science and technology exhibition aims to answer these questions and more by presenting a series of scenarios narrating the destruction of the Earth and providing scientific explanations not just as to their causes, but their implications as well.

The exhibition, which runs to December 16, has been compiled by experts and is open to the public every Saturday and Sunday.

At 1.30 p.m. on both days, organizers present a series of experiments aimed at people aged 9 and above (adults are welcome) that show the effect of various natural disasters such as an asteroid’s impact on the Earth and life on it.

In the hypothetical asteroid crash scenario, for example, the survivors face a number of challenges.

“We explain the effect on the global climate that the impact of a large asteroid would have, and the important environmental role played by plants,” Leda Arnellou, who is in charge of the interactive exhibition, told Kathimerini. “This helps children understand the importance of oxygen, but also of carbon dioxide, for living organisms. The exhibition then travels back to the present day and explains how human activities have an impact on climate change that is not very different from an asteroid.”

The exhibition is organized to show a destruction scenario in the first phase, and then addresses the issue of depletion of natural resources, which in turn leads to a discussion on the destruction of the planet’s natural environment. The sessions also include workshops on recycling, held at 3 p.m., in which children aged 8 and above make their own paper, helping them understand how paper can be reused in order to halt the depletion of forests.

“The aim is to help them understand the concept of sustainability and the dangers of natural resource depletion,” Arnellou said.

The next session, which begins at 5.30 p.m. and is aimed at children aged over 12, is centered on interactive narratives of ancient doomsday prophecies, from Scandinavian legends and the writings of Nostradamus to the Mayan prophecies that see the end of the world coming on December 21, 2012.

“We talk about the destruction of Pompeii in AD 79, as well as the eruption of the Santorini volcano in 1613 BC,” explained Arnellou.

The third session of the day in centered on a discussion of modern-day disasters that have posed a threat to the Earth’s natural balance, such as the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan that caused massive damage to the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.

The next interactive exhibition at the Eugenides Foundation, which will run from mid-December through May, will focus on the evolution of technology from antiquity to the present, including Heron of Alexandria’s windmill, space travel and exploration for life on other planets.

Eugenides Foundation, 387 Syngrou Avenue, Palaio Faliro, tel 210.946.9600

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday November 20, 2012 (22:42)  
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