HYDERABAD: After a six-month hiatus, Hyderabad’s BM Birla Science Centre has reopened. Entry rules now include wearing a mask, hand sanitisation and thermal screening. When the first visitor walked in on September 21, the staff couldn’t contain their joy. “It was a festive occasion for us,” gushes an employee. Around 28 visitors came on the first day and the number rose to 75 during weekends. Before the pandemic, the 1,00,000 square feet-centre used to be a bustling hub filled 250-300 visitors and 500 people on weekends.
Museum director BG Sidharth states that the entire complex has undergone sanitisation. “Keeping the campus clean and hygienic and to ensure that no one enters without checks was a big responsibility,” he says.
World of science
Located on the picturesque Naubat Pahad, the 35-year-old Science museum is a favourite outing for Hyderabadis and tourists to explore and learn Science concepts in a fun way. What is fascinates is the way the centre simplifies the subject thus providing an opportunity for both children and adults to interact with its exhibits.
A spinning globe at the entrance draws enthusiasts in; they walk in to be greeted by the planets that orbit the sun with an explanation of how the solar system works.
At a distance are models of different science concepts — from anti-gravity and illusions to centrifugal force. A gyro (spinning) chair based on a gyroscopic principle is ready to take you on a ride and show how a spinning wheel resists change even when you change its momentum. It is time to have fun with illusions — you see water coming from a tap but cannot find its source; ‘Seeing is Believing’ appears as an abstract line but the letters are easily read from another angle bringing optical illusion to the fore.
The Dinosaurium, Archaeology and Dolls galleries in its premises are fun and educational and used to be choc-a-bloc with thousands of visitors, including tourists. The Planetarium is yet to open though. The team recently installed Digistar (computer-based graphics) at the 11,000 square feet large Birla Planetarium. Sidharth calls it a great experience that has been temporarily paused. Since the planetarium gives a ‘theatre experience,’ the centre is waiting for approval from the Government.
In the premises is also the country’s first Space Museum, set up in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation last year. Space is a hit with school students, especially for its GSLV rocket (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) brass model, PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), Mangalyaan and Chandrayaan spacecraft.
The Space Museum’s collection will add 24 new exhibits in the next six months.
The team used the lockdown period to carry out repair and maintenance works at the premises. Now, most of their employees are back, with a few coming as per an in staggered schedule.
Sidharth equals the Birla Science Centre to a magical world. “It is like watching a film; only, that it is true,” he concludes.
(BM Birla Science Centre does not need an appointment. Visitors can walk in and buy tickets at the entrance; Open between 11.00 am and 7.00 pm)