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Below The Surface

Friday, December 2, 2011

What is that smell?

As a newcomer to ECHO I wanted to relay a recent experience I had with our traveling exhibit. My first trip into Grossology was last month, on a 'getting to know your new habitat' expedition. Although the giant burping man was the first thing to grab my attention, somewhere beyond him lay an odoriferous
wonder that was so gross I had to investigate further. I've had enough biology to recognize giant bacteria when I see it and my eye caught a few examples at a colorful station against the wall. On this table I found 4 super-sized petre dishes containing equally super-sized bacterium models. Bellow these visual wonders are corresponding 'smell stations' which contain smells that originate from bacterial creatures living all over our bodies. An adventurous person like myself just can't help sticking their nose over one of these stations and taking a deep whiff. Pee-ewe! What could have made that smell? Through some exploration at this station I learned that what I had just smelled was created by a bacterium called Brevibacterium epidermidis, which apparently lives on ourfeet. I have to admit that although I'm familiar with my own smelly feet after a long hike I haven't ever experienced the magnified version of this. It was unforgettable and as odd as it may sound, something I recommend as a new and unique experience.

Certainly I'm not the only adventurous visitor to science centers out there. If you count yourself or your children among those who wonder "What does that smell like" or "What makes us burp" I strongly encourage you to come down to ECHO for your own adventure through Grossology. If you come to ECHO on Saturday, December 10th we have some special programming about the Reality of Cooties, which, as a younger brother, I have always wondered about. As a former EMT in Brooklyn, NY I'm also psyched to explore the FACT Ambulance that day. And, if you're interested in boosting your health through the cold and flu season VNA is offering flu shots from 11am - 1pm for only $30.

You only have a few weeks left - Grossology leaves on Jan 8th. But don't worry, ECHO is open through the holiday season (except Dec 24th and 25th). Our next exhibit, Seasons of Change, opens on Jan 21st. As a recent transplant to New England I’m looking forward to learning about how the changing climate might affect the ecosystems and culture here around the lake.


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