Argentina's "Tecnopolis" Celebrates Scientific and Cultural Optimism
July 22, 2011 • 6:52AM

Argentina's giant Tecnopolis exposition, displaying examples of 200 years of the nation's scientific achievements, is "a call to the future," said President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on July 14. Presiding over the exposition's official opening in a Buenos Aires suburb, she proudly added that it is also "an invitation to life, to the lives of future generations, of those yet to be born...to whom we have an obligation to move forward with greater force, greaer passion and greeater conviction than ever before."

Originally intended as part of Argentina's 2010 Bicentennial celebration, Tecnopolis is an impressive display of the country's tradition of scientific excellence, in such areas as aerospace, nuclear energy and medicine, among others.

Upon entering the exposition, one immediately sees its tallest building built by the National Space Activities Commission (CONAE), which uses several technological devises to allow visitors to experience the climate of space. In front of this building stands a model of the prototype Tronador II rocket, successfuly tested last week, that will give Argentina the ability to launch its own satellites. Related to this is the exhibit designed by the Technological Institute for Detection of Astroparticles, in which visitors can observe cosmic rain.

The exposition is divided into five "continents"—Air, Land, Water, Fire and Imagination. In the Air pavillion, there are models of the aircraft which Argentina designed and built years ago, the Pulqui I and II and the Pucara. In the Fire pavillion, visitors can learn about nuclear energy, by entering a cubicle whose movements and vibrations simulate the interior of a reactor, where one can observe the splitting of the atom. In the same section, a three-dimensional video explains the workings of the modular prototype CAREM reactor, designed and being built in Argentina with a 2013 completion date.

One very popular exhbit, entitled "Glacial Experience," allows visitors to talk to, and ask questions of, military scientists working at one of Argentina's research bases in the Antarctic. The designer of this pavillion told the Telam press agency that "this contact of the people with science and with Antarctica is a connection we've always hoped for," and which Tecnopolis has made possible.

Free to the public, Tecnopolis has attracted more than 300,000 enthusiastic visitors since its official opening on July 15, including a large contingent of young people. As President Fernandez explained, Tecnopolis isn't just a "commemoration of what we've been able to do. It is a real Theme Park that the Bicentennial Generation...leaves as a legacy to all Argentines, as we begin our third century of existence....We have decided to reward talent, intelligence, education, science and technology as the real motors" that will help deepen the process of national transformation.