Science for pedestrians on the streets of Singapore
SINGAPORE – In Singapore, to learn science, one does not have to be inside a school, laboratory, or a science museum.
People can learn on their way to school or work – science is on a bridge, by the sidewalk, or a building. These places are not your usual geek-out areas such as museums, galleries, and laboratories. They're also not just about infrastructure and architecture that exemplify the laws of physics perfectly. These are permanent installations representing how science and technology shaped this little Southeast Asian nation's history and how it may determine its future.
The Helix: Walking on your DNA
First off is The Helix, a 280-meter long bridge with a double-helix structure inspired by the geometric arrangement of the building block of life, our DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). This bridge connects the waterfront area, Marina Center, and the Marina Bay Sands, the imposing luxury hotel with a casino, a mall, and other amenities.
If you're walking through the bridge, you'll find that some lights on the floor have letters on them, representing the proteins making up our DNA – Adenine (A), Guanine (G), Thymine (T), and Cytosine (C).
At night, LED lights accentuate the curves of The Helix. Plus, there are a number of light shows that can be watched for free from the viewing decks of the bridge – most of them about art and science.
Marina Barrage: Multi-functional park
Perhaps the Philippines could learn a thing or two from the Marina Barrage.
The Marina Barrage is not your ordinary dam. It doesn't only supply water to a tenth of the Singapore population – it also holds water back from the sea. Built at the mouth of the Marina Channel, the reservoir holds back the ocean, protecting Singapore from the effects of storm surges and sea level rise. It also acts as a flood gate for low-lying areas like Chinatown during heavy rains. It is also a place to hang out, take photos, and enjoy water activities like kayaking and dragonboating all year round.
Nature Ways: Combining beauty with purpose
Plants along sidewalks and curbs are normal for almost every city. They provide a fresh view and contrast among concrete skyscrapers. But in Singapore, many of these manicured street gardens are not just meant to please the eyes. They are built as "stopovers" for animals moving from one garden, park, or forest to another.
Information about the different species of animals that can be spotted along the area are shown on colorful boards, encouraging passers-by to appreciate the biodiversity of Singapore.
World Bank data show that as of 2012, Singapore spends about 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on research and development. The Philippines, in contrast, spends way below 1% of its GDP on research and development, a far cry from our neighbor.
How Singapore rose as one of the economic leaders of the region can also be traced to how its leaders value science. The culture of science in this country paved the way for some of the well-known inventions and innovations the world benefits from, such as the USB flash disk and the Creative sound card, to name a few.
To achieve this, Singaporeans did not leave learning about science inside the confines of schools. They walk with it and live with it. – Rappler.com