x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Children’s interest in science sparked by electricity exhibits at Abu Dhabi Science Festival

The Dolphin Energy pavilion at the Abu Dhabi Science Festival dazzles children with impressive displays of power.

Abu Dhabi // Children were dazzled by the magic of electricity on the third day of the Abu Dhabi Science Festival at the Corniche today.

Haya Al Nuimi, 7, was among the youngsters enchanted by Electricity and Magnets, one of eight hands-on exhibits educating visitors about the different uses of energy.

Haya held out her right arm and stretched out her fingers, palm down, as a neodymium magnet the size of an ice cube was placed on top of her hand.

As she lowered her hand over a cluster of paper clips, she grinned and giggled in disbelief as they jumped up and stuck to her palm.

“How?” Haya asked in awe.

“See, it’s like magic,” said a volunteer, who explained the power of magnetic electricity.

This is the third year the Abu Dhabi-based gas company Dolphin Energy has sponsored the festival.

As children enter its multicoloured pavilion, they are given 3D glasses to watch a short animated film about a boy named Khalid who learns about the company’s Dolphin Project.

The initiative produces and processes natural gas from Qatar and exports the dry gas using undersea pipelines to Taweelah. The gas is then distributed throughout the UAE and Oman. Dolphin Energy supplies about 30 per cent of the nation’s power.

Dolphin Energy is keen to play a role in the community as well as the business world, said Mariam Al Badr, the deputy vice president of corporate communications.

“We take great pride in these community-based activities,” said Mrs Al Badr. “We have a mandate to really encourage science. Obviously us being a large oil and gas company, its very important that we encourage Emiratis, women and all of these kinds of subgroups to participate in science, love it and be interested in it.

“We’re also looking at ways at making science fun. A lot of children are scared of science, scared of maths, and we’re always looking at ways to make them interested in the science programmes.”

Abdullah Sherif, 14, said he was amazed by the gadgets that let him test forms of electric power.

“I thought it was going to be boring but then it was amazing,” said Abdullah, a grade 8 pupil at Cambridge School in Abu Dhabi.

“I was really amazed at the things that are here and how they use power.”

Many children were attracted to the Air Basketball exhibit. Using three AA batteries, the gadget pumps a current of air strong enough to levitate a light, small plastic ball. The children are challenged to use the air currents to dunk the floating ball into a small basketball net.

Visitors can also race one of two remote-controlled model 4x4s around a large, swerving track to learn about wireless technology and radio frequency.

A human gyroscope ride teaches children about g-forces by strapping them to a chair on a wheel that spins and tilts them in all directions.

The final attraction is a photo booth that let visitors pose with props such as supersized sunglasses and take their picture home as a souvenir.

Entry to the Corniche pavilion is free but requires on-site registration, as only 10 children are allowed in at one time.

From Sunday to Wednesday, four sessions are available daily – 5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 8pm. On Thursday, an additional session is available at 9pm.

For more information on the Abu Dhabi Science festival, which runs at the Corniche and at du Forum on Yas Island until November 23, visit abudhabisciencefestival.ae.

rpennington@thenational.ae