Four new museum exhibits in Roanoke’s Science Museum of Western Virginia showcase Virginia Tech research

The exhibits are based on the research of students and faculty

People in Roanoke can now have an inside look at the research Virginia Tech scientists are working on.

ROANOKE, Va. – People in Roanoke will now have the opportunity to explore Virginia Tech’s newest scientific discoveries.

From flying snakes to honeybee habitats, Roanoke’s Science Museum of Western Virginia will display four new museum exhibits based on the research of students and faculty.

Museum visitors will have a chance to get to know the scientists who completed the work as each exhibit will be paired with photos and short biographies. People will also be able to get hands-on experience and get directly involved in both the scientific discoveries and innovative technology.

Here’s a list of the four new museum exhibits you can expect to see:

  • “Snakes can fly?!”
    • This exhibit was inspired by the work of Jake Socha, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, and his collaborators. It examines the science of gliding animals.
    • Visitors can experiment with a wind tunnel to see how different shapes react to air currents.
  • “Virginia Tech Helmet Lab”
    • This exhibit was based on the research of the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab and is led by Stefan Duma, director of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences and Steve Rowson, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics.
    • It explores the effectiveness of helmets when it comes to protecting heads from extreme force.
    • Visitors can “crank up” the helmet to explore the impact studies done in the lab and also touch the insides of various helmet styles. Barry Miller, director of outreach for the lab, worked with museum staff to create an exhibit that engages its audience.
  • “Propolis”
    • Based on the creative technologies master’s thesis work of Renee Alarid, associate director of creative services at the Moss Arts Center, this exhibit was created to help children better understand honeybees’ contributions to the economy through audio and video elements that explore their lives and habitats.
    • Visitors can get up close with the geometries of beehives as projected bees move in and out of the hive.
  • “Microorganisms: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful”
    • This exhibit was done by Dana Hawley, professor of biological sciences and funded by the National Science Foundation.
    • It exploring how microorganisms affect songbirds. Microscopes, samples and photomicrographs let museum visitors magnify the tiny and fascinating world of microorganisms.

Three other exhibits created by Virginia Tech researchers which include “Plasma,” “MirrorCraft” and “Dense Space” were installed in previous years and are still available for visitors to explore.

About the Author:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.