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New science exhibition opens at Ulster Museum in Belfast

BY AMANDA FERGUSON

A fascinating new science exhibition based on the periodic table opens today at the Ulster Museum in Belfast.

Elements explores how 90 natural elements make up everything that we can see and feel around us, and on into the universe. Everything from microscopic viruses to vast galaxies and us human beings are all made from elements.

The exhibition, the first of its kind in the UK, is located in the Nature Galleries, on level three of the Ulster Museum and explores a series of themes that encompass life and death, wealth and fashion, and art and technology.

Visitors will be able to discover where elements were created, how they occur naturally, what they look like, how we use them and why they can be dangerous.

Curator of palaeontology for National Museums Northern Ireland, Dr Mike Simms, told the Belfast Telegraph it was inspired by a book by Theodore Gray, in which the relevance of elements to us all is beautifully described.

"It is aimed at everyone," Dr Simms said. "But I want to inspired kids from upper primary to study science.

"I want young people to realise science is not a boring, dry subject but one that is impacts on their life a great deal."

This free exhibition will appeal to families and young adults and will support the delivery of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (Stem) agenda for schools.

The exhibition shows that behind our modern lifestyle lie elements most people have never heard of, gallium and terbium in electric lights; tantalum – the rarest non-radioactive element – in mobile phones, and indium in touch screens.

Visitors will also be able to explore how poisonous elements, such as lead, mercury and arsenic, were used in cosmetics and medicine until surprisingly recently.

Elements is supported by the Foyle Foundation, Friends of the Ulster Museum, Power NI and its parent company Viridian Group.

For further information visit www.nmni.com/um.

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