Science Behind the News: Viruses


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When a novel viral outbreak occurs, it can be a big topic of discussion. We often ask the same questions, such as “What’s different about this disease?” and “How can I protect myself?” Scientists have to work quickly to figure out the answers, but having some knowledge about viruses can help to make the unknowns less daunting.

At NYSCI, we believe knowledge is empowering and want everyone to feel confident in understanding the facts. Therefore, we decided to use the news about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a teaching moment by creating a pop-up exhibition that builds on our Transmissions: Gone Viral interactive graphic novel.

Our teams moved quickly to develop a brand new exhibit that explains what a virus is, how it spreads, what’s special about COVID-19, and why it’s important for scientists in different countries to share information. The exhibit has been on view at NYSCI since March 6.

Since NYSCI and other organizations have been forced to temporarily close, we uploaded the exhibition on our website below, and have freely shared the exhibit with museums around the world to share with their communities through the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC).

So far, 77 institutions – across 75 cities and 14 countries such as China, Ghana, Italy, Poland and South Africa – have recreated the exhibit (in person or online). Museums interesting in obtaining the panels can email Geralyn Abinader for more information.

Click here to view the COVID-19 exhibit by the New York Hall of Science in both English and Spanish.

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