St. Louis Science Center

"Journey to Space" Director, Mark Krenzien
Saint Louis Science Center

St. Louis has played a key role in space travel. In 1959, NASA selected St. Louis company McDonnell Aircraft to build America’s first human-controlled spacecraft for Project Mercury. McDonnell Aircraft later became McDonnell Douglas, and merged with Boeing in 1997.

Boeing is one of the corporate sponsors of the Omnimax film, "Journey to Space," directed by Mark Krenzien.

“It’s a special place here in St. Louis, to have a film like this in a town so linked to aerospace and aviation,” Krenzien told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh.

Courtesy of the St. Louis Science Center

We've seen the St. Louis Science Center's planetarium decorated in various ways and in many lights. The building even dresses up with a red bow for the holidays and for its 50th anniversary it donned a gold one. But on Monday night it was lit blue and green for a different reason.

St. Louis Science Center
St. Louis Science Center

Like most kids, Diamond Williams toyed with several potential careers. Cosmetology had potential. So did following in the footsteps of her father, a dialysis technician, but her squeamishness cut short those dreams. Instead, Williams is now an engineer, a career path she discovered through a St. Louis Science Center youth program.

Youth Exploring Science works with St. Louis teens to create projects centered around science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

Stan and Sandra Burton manned the National Society of Black Engineers booth at the Minority Scientist Showcase Saturday, January 17, 2015 at the St. Louis Science Center.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

  Visitors to the St. Louis Science Center will see more than the usual exhibits this weekend.

St. Louis area scientists have descended on the center for its annual Minority Scientist Showcase. Dozens of organizations are manning booths at the center through Monday so that kids can see science in action and meet people who make a career out of it.

Images from zoo museum district entities
File photos and Wikipedia

The Zoo Museum District’s Ethics Committee met Wednesday to discuss changes to the organization’s code of ethics. Committee members Charles Valier, Ben Uchitelle and Committee Chair Tom Campbell were primarily in agreement. But Campbell and Valier differ over the level of transparency to write into the code.

“Transparency for transparency’s sake doesn’t benefit anyone” said Campbell.

Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Free admission to St. Louis’ cultural institutions for non-residents could be a thing of the past if talk by the Zoo-Museum District board members turns to action.

On Wednesday night, the board discussed the possibility of charging admission to the Zoo, Art Museum, Science Center and other attractions in response to a report by St. Louis City Alderman Joe Roddy.

Admission would remain free for people who live in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

A report sharply criticizing St. Louis’ Zoo-Museum District (ZMD) was adopted by the parks committee of the city’s board of aldermen Thursday.

Alderman Joe Roddy, parks committee chair, released a draft of the report this week following a year of investigation.

(Via Flikr/Derringsdo)

Commissioners of the Zoo-Museum District, on September 30, voted to raise the property tax rate that funds five St. Louis cultural institutions to the highest level permitted by state law.  Those institutions are the St. Louis Zoo, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science Center and Missouri History Museum.


Parkway School District to cut spending

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Parkway School Board has approved cutting spending by about $7.5 million to $9.6 million during the next two school years. The school board approved the cuts Wednesday night.

Reductions include eliminating 20 positions from administration and support staff, mostly through attrition.

(Business Journal Photo by Johnny Quirin via Saint Louis Science Center Press Release)

A former executive at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago has been named president and CEO of the Saint Louis Science Center.

The St. Louis Business Journal reports that Bert Vescolani will replace Doug King, who left almost a year ago to head the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Obama to visit St. Louis today

Following a speech in Dallas promoting his jobs bill, President Obama will attend two private fundraisers in St. Louis , one at a downtown hotel on behalf of the Democratic National Committee, and the other at the home of Tom Carnahan, the brother of Congressman Russ Carnahan and Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

Not everyone is pleased with the President's plans. Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says the President seems to be more focused on campaigning than on solving the nation's problem.

Photo courtesy of MoDOT

Workers threaten to shut down construction on Mississippi River bridge

A group that's trying to get more construction jobs for minority workers says it'll shut down work on a new Mississippi River bridge near St. Louis. The Metro East Black Contractors Organization says it's meeting with the director of the Illinois Department of Transportation on Friday. The group says it'll shut down work on Monday if the meeting isn't satisfactory.

St. Louis Science Center to reduce number of VPs

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Quinn to sign Dream Act today

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn is set to sign a bill that gives illegal immigrants access to private scholarships for college and lets them enroll in state college savings programs. Quinn will visit Benito Juarez Community Academy in Chicago on Monday to sign the Illinois Dream Act.

(St. Louis Science Center)

Staff cuts possible at St. Louis Science Center

Staff cuts are possible at one of St. Louis' most popular attractions. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a 10-member commission that oversees the St. Louis Science Center could vote as early as August on a restructuring plan. That is according to Ted Hellman, chairman of the commission.

Algae, that very same stuff that turns aquarium walls and backyard fences green, are also a potent source of energy, and hold significant potential as a clean, renewable fuel source.  Algae were first investigated as a source of energy back in the 1970’s when high gas prices prompted an interest in alternative energies and the US Department of Energy created the Aquatic Species Program.  That program was discontinued in 1996, but as oil costs have continued to rise and energy independence has reemerged as a national priority, researchers around the world, and many right here in St. Louis, are again focused on the potential of algal biofuels.

The St. Louis Science Center has named an interim CEO after its former CEO, Doug King, left for the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Dr. Philip Needleman is a former practicing scientist at Washington University in Pharmacology and later at Monsanto as Chief Scientist.

Most recently, Needleman was the interim president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.