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Molecularium Team Honored

Three Rensselaer professors have been honored for their outstanding work in boosting science literacy. The Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) recognized engineering professors Linda Schadler, Shekhar Garde, and Richard Siegel, the executive producers of the Molecularium Project. At the CMOST 2011 annual gala on June 9, the museum presented its highest honor, the Explore~Discover~Imagine Award, to the trio for “their extraordinary leadership in the critical effort to motivate the next generation of scientists in our region and state.”

“Because of their incredible work on the Molecularium Project, there is a whole new generation of young people that have been introduced to nanoscience at the youngest of ages,” said Paul Fahey, chair of the CMOST board of trustees. “The Molecularium team has demonstrated an uncommon devotion to ensuring that students are given the chance to explore the world that will likely define their careers as adults.”

The first Molecularium movie, Riding Snowflakes, made its public premier in 2005 at CMOST. Since then, the 20-minute computer-animated film that targets children in grades K-3 has been showing in the CMOST planetarium almost daily. The dome movie has won several awards, is in distribution worldwide, and has been translated into Korean, Arabic, and Turkish.

“CMOST was an integral partner at the launch of the Molecularium Project,” Schadler said. “I speak for the entire team when I say we’re honored by this award. We look forward to working with CMOST for many years to come. We are a group of people fascinated by atoms and molecules, and what can be and has been achieved by understanding them.”

CMOST’s “Molecularium In Motion” program brings the Molecularium experience to New York state schools, with a 30-minute workshop followed by a viewing of Riding Snowflakes in a portable movie dome and projector purchased by Rensselaer.

The ultimate goal of the Molecularium Project is to boost global science literacy and to energize young people to pursue careers in science, technology, and engineering. By carefully designing the characters, plot, look, and feel of Riding Snowflakes, the Molecularium team sought to create a movie where viewers would get swept up in the story line and learn or re-learn important scientific facts—without even trying.

The team then went on to create a giant-screen adventure, Molecules to the MAX! , in both 2-D and 3-D. This new film has been translated into Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, and Arabic, and is now playing around the world.

For more information on the Molecularium Project, Riding Snowflakes, Molecules to the MAX!, and the new Web experience, NanoSpace, visit

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 11, June 17, 2011
©2011 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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