Review of CSI: The Experience at the Rochester Museum and Science Center

November 15, 2010
by Caurie Putnam, Coordinator, STEM Mentor Program
CSI: The Experience is at The Rochester Museum and Science Center now through January 2nd. photo by Caurie Putnam.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit and photograph CSI: The Experience at  The Rochester Museum and Science Center.  One word: WOW. 

I attend pretty much every big, traveling, exhibit the RMSC hosts, but CSI was by far the most impressive, interactive, and informative exhibit I’ve seen of late.  I enjoy CSI: the hit CBS television show and true-crime movies, documentaries, etc. But, I’ve never had the opportunity to actually “play along” and solve a crime outside of my screen viewing mind.

CSI: The Experience gives visitors the opportunity to solve a crime and provides a slew of science education in the process.  When you enter the exhibit you are given the choice of three unsolved crimes to investigate.  Here are the descriptions of each crime from the museum’s website:

A House Collided — A car has run through the living room window of a house in a quiet suburb. In the driver’s seat, a man is slumped over with his seatbelt on. In the living room, there are muddy shoeprints and drops of blood.

Who Got Served? — A woman wearing a waitress uniform has been found dead in an alley behind an old Las Vegas motel. Tossed nearby is a photo of her, which has been ripped in half.

No Bones About It! — A hiker has stumbled across what looks like a human skull sticking out of the ground. The skull has a visible hole in it; and among the remains, there are still tattered remnants of a coat and what appears to be a backpack.

RMSC employee with the three crime clip boards for "detectives" to chose from. photo by Caurie Putnam

I chose A House Collided but also took the opportunity to look at all three crime scenes – I couldn’t believe how “real” they looked – right down to the sounds and smells.  After reviewing the crime scene and collecting evidence I continued into various areas of the exhibit  for evidence testing,  fingerprint comparison, blood spatter pattern evaluation,  blood-alcohol level testing, clothing fiber analysis, DNA evidence, and conduction of the autopsy.  The autopsy was my favorite part and extremely realistic.  Along the course of the exhibit visitors are given tips and information from the various CSI characters via screens.

A museum patron logs her data in the CSI computer. photo by Caurie Putnam

The last step in the process was solving the crime by entering data/evidence etc. into a computer.  I did not solve my crime – did not even come close, but I learned a lot and gained a greater appreciation for the art of detective work and science behind criminal investigation. 

I absolutely encourage teachers to consider taking their students to the exhibit – it is a great way to unite the digital age with science.  The hands-on, team building lessons are abundant.  In fact, while I was there employees of  a local company were visiting the exhibit together as a team-building exercise.  The curator I spoke with said the exhibit is popular among all ages and that many people return several times to try to solve all three crimes.

Don’t miss CSI: The Experience – it will be at the RMSC until January 2nd – after which it will disappear.

Here are the fine details about  CSI: The Experience at The Rochester Museum and Science Center:

Exhibition Hours:
Sunday…………………………………….11am to 5pm
Monday & Tuesday……………………..9am to 5pm
Wednesday & Thursday……………….9am to 9pm
Friday & Saturday………………………..9am to 5pm

Exhibition Admission (includes museum admission):
$18   Adults
$16   Seniors & College Students* with ID
$15   Ages 3–18
$ 5    RMSC Members
$ 7    RMSC Corporate Members
$ 7    Community Partner Pass Members
$10   School Groups with Reservations
$11   Other Groups with Reservations

*Special Rate on Wednesday & Thursday Evenings for College Students with ID: $11 (Save $5!)

Admission to CSI: The Experience PLUS a Strasenburgh Planetarium Film or Star Show:
$23    Adults
$20    Seniors/College Students
$18    Ages 3–18
$ 5     RMSC Members

Important Exhibit Information:

No individual discounts, passes, or coupons will be accepted for CSI: The Experience.

Please allow 60–90 minutes to view the exhibit.

Each ticket will have a timed entrance.

Tickets may not be returned or changed—no rain checks available.

The additional charge for admission to CSI: The Experience cannot be applied to the purchase of RMSC membership.

All ticket sales for CSI: The Experience end one hour prior to closing.

One of the three crime scenes at CSI. photo by Caurie Putnam

Eastman Kodak Inventor Receives Nation’s Top Honor

November 5, 2010

Last month at the White House, President Obama honored several top scientists and innovators with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.  The medal is the nation’s top honor for technological and scientific achievement.  It recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and have helped strengthen the Nation’s technological workforce. Nominees were selected by a distinguished independent committee representing both the private and public sectors. Among the winners was Eastman Kodak’s Steven Sasson, for the invention of the digital camera.

“The extraordinary accomplishments of these scientists, engineers, and inventors are a testament to American industry and ingenuity,” President Obama said.  “Their achievements have redrawn the frontiers of human knowledge while enhancing American prosperity and it is my tremendous pleasure to honor them for their important contributions.”

In 1974, Steven Sasson was asked to investigate the imaging properties of charge-coupled devices to create an image sensor for a film-free camera.  The result of Sasson’s work was a device that weighted 8.6 lbs. and was the size of a small toaster.  Today, digital cameras are everywhere, even on our mobile phones.  The digital camera has revolutionized the way images are captured, stored, and shared, thereby creating new opportunities for commerce, education and improved worldwide communication.

Sasson, and the other honorees, will receive their award at a White House ceremony later this year.