Posted by: COSI | October 10, 2008

COSI for a healthier Columbus

posted by COSI Senior VP, Kim Kiehl

We currently have a huge construction project going on here at COSI. Half of the Life exhibition area has been torn out and we are in the process of building very cool research labs that will house OSU researchers as they do their work. Check out video just shot yesterday!

These particular researchers do work on physical fitness, metabolism, body composition, nutrition, and other interesting things related to your health and what you eat. Every day there will be work going on as they assess everyone from children to professional athletes. We will also have lots of special events that let you learn more about your own health and interact with researchers, sports stars and everyday people. It’s just one example of how we are trying to fulfill two parts of our strategic vision…connecting you to real science and making science relevant to your daily life.

We have been planning these labs for well over a year and we are very excited to actually see them coming into being! Each space will hold state of the art equipment and researchers from OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology, Department of Human Nutrition. In addition, there are many researchers at OSU from a wide variety of departments that have already indicated that they are interested in bringing some of their research to the labs on a more temporary basis. The place will be jumping with activity—pun intended.

Outside of these labs will be an array of experiences that allow you to test yourself and to learn more about how your body works and how the choices you make every day affect your body. With obesity being such a problem in this country, particularly in children, we are excited that we will be able to provide you with engaging and fun experiences that will help you have a better life.

COSI recently received a grant of over $400,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Science to develop these experiences. This grant is noteworthy, not only because of the amount they awarded us, but because these grants are highly competitive and are awarded to projects that will advance the field overall. Our partnership with OSU is definitely advancing the field as we try to break down the walls that are often found between the work that goes on at universities and the public.

As a former tenured faculty member at OSU I know how important it is to be doing research that improves people’s lives. I also know how hard it is to get that research to the public in ways that are interesting and engaging. We are trying to break new ground in this area and are excited to have the labs finished and up and running. If all the construction timelines stay on track we plan to have these labs operational in February of 2009. While some of the experiences outside the labs will be ready by then, many will not yet be complete since the grant has a two year timeline so I want to encourage you to come early and come often! There will be plenty to do and see when we open but there will be more added on a regular basis as we finish the project. Here’s to a healthier community!

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