See Einstein's hairdo and a kickboxing robotOn Sunday, the day before Science Day in Korea, the northern section of downtown Seoul known as Daehangno, will be transformed into an outdoor science festival.
All vehicles will be prohibited from entering the area's streets Sunday.
In place of cars, Daehangno will be filled with people taking part in such events as a science quiz competition, science movies and stage plays, including mime acts with a robot that was created by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
This year's festival is called "Enjoying Science Together," and it will be the biggest in the 36-year history of the event. Science Day was launched to mark the importance of science and technology.
Choi Young-hwan, chairman of the Korea Science Foundation says, "Although someone might not be able to play soccer, he can become a member of the Red Devils, and thus learn a lot about the game. In the same sense, we hope the fun of a science festival will increase the number of science fans."
Mr. Choi says that in the past Science Day meant only small-scale happenings that drew little public attention. That's changed.
Mr. Choi says that it is no use to simply stress the importance of science. Therefore, the foundation has planned the festival so science can be enjoyed by the public up close and personally. And enjoy it.
One program on Sunday features a lecture by Jang Hana, who is known for giving witty talks about science. On Sunday, Ms. Jang will speak on the beauty of human anatomy and of everyday physics.
In a recent lecture, Ms. Jang said, "There's a scientific reason why a woman has two breasts. One breast is the main food supply for her baby, while the other is for emergencies."
There will also be a parade in which participants will be dressed as futuristic characters from video games and cartoons, such as Taekwon V, a robot that kicks and jabs like a taekwondo combatant.
Other characters expected to show up for the parade are real people from the history of science, such Albert Einstein, known for his fuzzy hairdo, and Isaac Newton, known for discovering gravity by sitting beneath an apple tree.
The festival will give visitors a chance to participate. In one competition Sunday, volunteers will be attempting to build a safety harness for an egg using wooden chopsticks and straws. The egg in the harness gear will then be dropped to the ground from a certain height. The winning team will be decided by whose egg arrives undamaged and closest to the ground when dropped.
Some Science Day festival events began a few weeks ago. One event, the play "Oxygen," involves the scientists who discovered the element in the 1700s.
The play has been running almost daily since April 14 and has been sold out for nearly every performance. On Sunday, "Oxygen" will run at 3 p.m. and at 6 p.m. at the Korean Culture and Art Foundation in Daehangno.
Science Day is also celebrated in a subway car on line No. 4, which leads to Daehangno. The "science train" has been in operation since April 10. From the ceiling of the car hangs a plastic miniature model of a space shuttle, while a life-size astronaut sits at the far end of the car.
For passengers on the science train who haven't brought anything along to read, a liquid crystal display monitor will be showing scientific documentaries.
For more information, visit www.family.scienceall.com or call 02-559-3841~5
by Kwon Hyeok-joo
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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