Toronto (August 12, 2013) – The Ontario Science Centre announces the fall 2013 opening of The AstraZeneca Human Edge, its first new permanent exhibition hall in seven years. With strong support from partners like AstraZeneca, the exhibition’s naming sponsor, the 10,000 square-foot (900 square-metre) exhibition promises to inform visitors of all ages about the human body, health, fitness and nutrition. Visitors will be invited to explore limits that athletes, adventure-seekers and survivors discover through rigorous training, determination or risk-taking. What are the boundaries and thresholds of the human “machine”? How far can we push our own limits? Scheduled to open in December 2013, the new hall will reveal innovative and exciting science through more than 55 exhibits including “bodies on” activities and new perspectives on some unique artifacts.
“Visitors to The AstraZeneca Human Edge will leave with a stronger appreciation of just how remarkable our bodies are,” says Lesley Lewis, CEO of the Ontario Science Centre. “With today’s scientific advancements, we as humans may be capable of even more than we realize.”
The AstraZeneca Human Edge will be grouped into five thematic areas:
1. In the Beginning explores in-utero development, the remarkable changes a woman’s body undergoes during pregnancy, 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 machine – the muscular, skeletal and circulatory systems. Visitors will learn about strength, endurance, longevity and aging, and hear compelling stories about real people who are pushing the edges of what we previously believed to be humanly possible. Gaze inside the Visible Human and look at your future self with the Aging Machine. Visitors will also learn about the awesome power of the human brain with the Glass Floor exhibit that dramatically demonstrates the amygdala’s (the primitive reptilian portion of the human brain) fight or flight response.
3. Personal Limits explores four common fitness activities: Running, Cycling, Rowing and Dance. Are we born to run long distances? How do we balance on bicycles? 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?
4. 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, the Banting & Best Lab, Brain Imaging and the 21stCentury Bionic Person.
5. Outer Limits focusses on athletes and survivalists who are pushing their bodies to the limits in extreme environments, from ocean bottoms to mountain tops. This idea will be explored with exhibits that include: Single Breath where visitors will learn about free divers who descend to depths greater than 100-metres with a single breath of air. The Climbing Wall and Decision Maze demonstrates how seemingly simple decisions could mean the difference between life and death on a mountain top.
The AstraZeneca Human Edgewas developed and produced in-house at the Ontario Science Centre. The new hall boasts more than 55 exhibits, all researched, designed, and fabricated by the Centre’s team of 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 development process focused on organic shapes representative of the human form. The entire exhibition was built in-house by the Exhibit Fabrication team over a period of 18 months using environmentally friendly and sustainable materials and processes. The new hall will be free with general admission.
“By expanding our understanding of the human body and human endeavour, this exhibit aims to inspire Canadian youth to become our next generation of scientists, athletes, medical practitioners and more,” says 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 as a leading biopharmaceutical company, and we’re proud to be part of this exciting new exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre.”
With the announcement of The AstraZeneca Human Edge, AstraZeneca has increased their commitment in supporting science learning for youth through the Ontario Science Centre. In 2011, the company became the presenting sponsor of SciFri and the Science Centre’s youth advisory council.
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. The company’s Canadian headquarters are located in Mississauga, Ontario.
As part of AstraZeneca’s commitment to improving the health and quality of life of Canadians, the company collaborates with community-based organizations in three key areas – to stimulate an interest in science among Canadian youth, strengthen capabilities and capacity within our healthcare system, and improve the mental and emotional well-being of disconnected and vulnerable youth ages 10 to 19 through AstraZeneca’s Young Health Program. For more information on AstraZeneca please visit: www.astrazeneca.ca.
About the Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre delights, informs and challenges the communities we serve, enriching people’s lives and understanding through engagement with science of local, national and global relevance. Since 1969, the Ontario Science Centre has welcomed over 46 million visitors, with an interactive approach that was the model for Science Centres around the world. It is the public centre for innovative thinking and provocative dialogue in science and technology, aiming to inspire a lifelong journey of curiosity, discovery and action to create a better future for the planet. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario. Please visit us at OntarioScienceCentre.ca.
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