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Vilvite exhibition opened with a big bang

June 9, 2008, 14:11 CEST
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Margareth Øvrum and Bergen commissioner Henning Warloe opened the Vilvite centre's "Illusion" exhibition". (All photos: Rune Solheim)

At the request of the Henning Warloe, Bergen commissioner responsible for cultural affairs, business development and sports, Øvrum ignited a pyrotechnic chain, removing a tarpaulin with a big bang.

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Managing director at Vilvite in Bergen, Svein Anders Dahl, does not lose his head opening the new 700 square-metre exhibition "Illusion". It's a visual illusion.

Excited visitors poured into the centre. "Illusions" is a travelling exhibition rented from Technopolis, a science centre in Mechelen, Belgium. The theme being optical illusion the exhibition will run until 1 September. StatoilHydro is the main sponsor of the very popular activity centre.

Need nosy parkers
"Our company is interested in all of you Gyro Gearlooses and nosy parkers. We need new people that take an interest in natural sciences and technology and hope you will be inspired to do fun things like those you see here at the centre in your future jobs. Who knows, perhaps one day the Nobel prize will be won from Bergen," Øvrum said to the visiting children and parents.

Øvrum is executive vice president for Technology & New Energy in StatoilHydro.

She emphasises that the children should be stimulated from they are small to take an interest in science. Children of all ages are welcome to visit the Vilvite centre in Bergen from they are toddlers, until the university level.

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Sigrid Iden Hjelmås sets the day's drilling record - a net income of NOK 774 million. She is assisted by her classmates from Gimle school in Bergen, Sebastian Soleim (left) and Torjus Steffensen.

Sparks
"The aim of our involvement in Vilvite is not to fill the children's heads with data, but rather to spark their curiosity for sciences," says special adviser Leif Lømo, representing StatoilHydro on the centre's board.

"This is a place where children of all ages may get together to experience exciting things from the world of physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics hands-on. We work closely with Norwegian schools, hoping they will make visits here part of their education. They may also take part in special projects, e.g. about energy," he says.

More than 110,000
On Friday 6 June 600 children visited the science discovery centre. School classes currently have to apply five to six weeks in advance to visit the centre.

More than 110,000 people have bought tickets since Vilvite opened on 31 May last year, about 20,000 more than expected.

"I am envious," says Natan Bellengé, the head of Technopolis in Belgium.

"Our science centre has a population basis of eight million people and the number of visitors is 250,000. If you have a population basis of 500,000 and 110,000 visitors more than 20 percent of those living in this region have dropped in. This is very good," he says.