The AstraZeneca Human Edge, the Ontario Science Centre’s new exhibition, explores the wonders and possibilities of the human body

Toronto (December 4, 2013) – As humans, what are our boundaries and thresholds? How far can we push our personal limits? The Ontario Science Centre’s new exhibition hall, The AstraZeneca Human Edge, explores the wonders and possibilities of the human body. Open to the public on December 7, 2013, the permanent hall will reveal innovative and exciting science through more than 80 exhibits, providing visitors with immersive, bodies-on experiences and new perspectives on unique artifacts.

“With the creation of The AstraZeneca Human Edge, the Ontario Science Centre continues its commitment to inspiring a lifelong journey of curiosity, discovery and action” said Lesley Lewis, CEO, Ontario Science Centre. “The dynamic new experiences will spark awe in visitors of all ages about the remarkable strength and capacity of the human body. Given today’s scientific knowledge and advancements and an ever evolving understanding of the importance of health, fitness and nutrition, we may all be capable of expanding our personal limits.”

The AstraZeneca Human Edge was researched, designed, and fabricated in-house by the Science Centre’s scientists, designers, writers, and craftspeople. The team collaborated extensively with leading experts from a wide range of fields, including neuroscience, physiology, bio-mechanics, and sports medicine. The design process focused on organic shapes representative of the human form. The exhibition was built over a period of 18 months, using environmentally friendly and sustainable materials and processes. Entrance to the new hall will be free with general admission.

“The Government of Ontario is proud to partner with our world-class cultural institutions that play a leading role in engaging and educating Ontarians of all ages,” said Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “The AstraZeneca Human Edge will build on the Ontario Science Centre’s reputation for providing innovative exhibits and experiences for visitors and residents alike while providing valuable information on the human body, health, nutrition and well-being.”

The Ontario government’s $1.5-million investment, along with strong support from Naming Sponsor AstraZeneca Canada and Diabetes Awareness Partner Sun Life Financial, helped to create the 10,000-square-foot (900-square-metre) exhibition promises to demonstrate the marvels of the human body.

“We’re very proud to support this exciting exhibition and deepen our partnership with the Ontario Science Centre, an organization that shares our passion for science and supporting youth education in Canada,” said Elaine Campbell, President of AstraZeneca Canada. “Exploring the limits of great science and innovation to improve human health are at the core of what we do; through The AstraZeneca Human Edge we’re excited to share the wonders of the human body and endeavour to help inspire the next generation of scientists, athletes, medical practitioners and more.”

The AstraZeneca Human Edge experiences are grouped into five thematic areas:

1.     In the Beginning explores in-utero development, the changes a woman’s body undergoes during pregnancy, the remarkable changes humans undergo growing from a single cell to a new born baby and how environmental factors can influence the expression of genes. Tanks of fluorescent zebra fish demonstrate how humans inherit traits from their parents.

2.     Mind and Body Limits delves into the fundamentals of the human body – the muscular, skeletal, nervous, and circulatory systems. Visitors will learn about longevity and aging and hear compelling stories about real people who push the edges of what we previously believed to be humanly possible. Gaze inside the Visible Woman, and look at your future self with the Aging Machine. Learn about the mind body connection with the Glass Floor exhibit, which dramatically demonstrates the amygdala’s (the primitive reptilian portion of the human brain) fight or flight response.

3.     Pushing Past the Limits shows how the body responds when pushed past its limits. Concussions, brain injuries, broken bones, diabetes, and nutritional imbalances will all be examined through a scientific lens. Exhibits include the Wall of Pain, Banting & Best’s Laboratory and Brain Imaging.

4.     Outer Limits focuses on athletes and adventure-seekers who push their bodies to the limit in extreme environments, from ocean bottoms to mountain tops. Single Breath allows visitors to learn about champion freedivers who descend to depths greater than 85 metres on a single breath of air. The Climbing Wall and Decision Maze demonstrate how seemingly simple decisions could mean the difference between life and death in a high-altitude environment.

5.     Personal Limits explores common fitness activities: running, rowing and dance. Are we born to run long distances? What’s the most important factor to win a rowing race – strength or synchronization? What’s the role of dance in communication and recreation across cultures? (Please note the Personal Limits section of The AstraZeneca Human Edge will open in January 2014.)