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Copywrite 2001-2004, California Science Center
Media Contacts:  Shell Amega, Paula Wagner, or Isela Castillo
July 22, 2003
October 4, 2003 to March 14, 2004

Los Angeles—Why would anyone take a risk? For the sheer fun of it, of course! RISK! a new traveling exhibit opening October 4, 2003, at the California Science Center, gives guests a playful and informative look at risk and risk assessment in a way that could change how they view risk in their lives.

RISK!, a new 5,000-square foot exhibit developed by the Forth Worth Museum of Science and History, showcases a variety of interactive, realistic experiences that invite guests to explore and understand risk and the part it plays in everyday life. "Everyday, life involves taking calculated risks, and our ability to properly assess those risks affects the quality and nature of our lives,” said Diane Perlov, Deputy Director for Exhibits. "Our hope is that RISK! will help visitors better understand and deal with risk using science, mathematics, and critical thinking skills.”

RISK! presents some extraordinary, eye-opening situations that emphasize our perception or misperception of risk. Imagine crossing a 7” wide steel beam, 17- stories above the ground. The stakes get higher when wind, blaring construction noises, and a noisy flock of birds flying by are added to the mix.

The Beam Walk!, an intro to the Risk! exhibit, teaches guests that math, science, and probability can play a significant role in risk assessment. This is also illustrated in the Bed of Nails where guests discover that lying on thousands of nails may not be the sticky situation guests expected. As guests lie on the Plexiglas bed, a geared system slowly raises nails through the bed, lifting guests gently and safely. The secret to this amazing feat lies in physics. Following is brief a list of several zany and informative exhibits in Risk!:

  • Ball of Danger combines probability concepts with non-quantitative factors like emotion and intuition. Two containers filled with red and white balls are presented, the red balls representing poison. One contains 100 balls – 91 white, nine red – while the second has ten balls – nine white and one red. Can guests tell which container is most dangerous? Other hands-on exhibits in the Gambling and Probability Area further illustrate probability with coin flipping, dice tossing, and visual examples of the odds.
  • Cinema presents engaging and powerful taped interviews with Mt. Everest survivor Beck Weathers, auto racer Johnny Rutherford, astronaut Barbara Morgan, bullfighter Rob Smets, and other risk takers. The 12-minute video puts a personal face on risk and highlights different opinions about risk.
  • Just How Risky Are You? invites visitors to answer a series of 20 true-false questions such as “I don't like trying exotic foods”. The score reveals comfort level with risk.
  • The How Old Are You Really? computer program shows us that the lifestyle choices we make – daily risk management decisions – can affect our quality of life. A series of lifestyle questions like “Do you exercise?” and “Do you eat fatty foods?” show that behavior influences our true “health age.”
  • Do You Know When to Quit? reinforces the highly personal nature of risk assessment. In classic game show fashion, guests are put in the hot seat and tested on how far they’re willing to go to be a “winner.” Visitors pull a series of eight switches to earn points. Flashing lights, cheering, and double points reward “good ” switch choices. But one of the eight switches is a “bad ” switch that immediately ends the game and eliminates all earned points.
Note to Editors: The California Science Center is located at 700 State Drive – Exposition Park, Los Angeles. Enter visitor parking at 39th & Vermont; parking is $6 per car. Activities are on all three floors of the Science Center. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to Science Center exhibits is free; for general information, phone 323.SCIENCE (323.724-3623) or visit our website at http://www.californiasciencecenter.org/. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible.
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