Niagara Gazette

Features

March 19, 2010

WEB SITE ACCLAIM: Physicist finds his labor of love listed among the top 10 museums for “geeks.”

NIAGARA FALLS — “Geeks” around the world should know about the Niagara Science Museum.

The little museum, tucked away in a technology park at the intersection of Highland and College avenues, has just been named to “The Top Ten Museums for Geeks,” on listverse.com. There is a note with the citation that states: “Geeks love history, science and the pursuit of knowledge.”

The distinction came as a surprise to the man who created the museum.

“It’s something amazing, out of the blue,” smiled Nick Dalacu, a physicist who in 2003 began restoring the deserted red brick structure that once served as the headquarters for Union Carbide’s predecessor, National Carbon.

The Web site list applauds the science museum’s vast array of antique scientific instruments found in reconstructed laboratories, and notes: “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, all of the instruments are fully functioning so you can see live demonstrations.”

By happy coincidence local “geeks” looking to see what has created such a stir, can visit the museum from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and see just what the list makers were so excited about.

The Saturday event is being held in conjunction with “Obscura Day,” a global celebration created by another Web site called AtlasObscura.

The museum was among 80 or so locations invited to participate in open houses throughout the world of “wondrous and curious places.”

Strangely enough, while the world seems to be paying attention, the museum is having trouble getting noticed in its own backyard.

Local schools seem disinterested in the antique laboratories and rustic science equipment that provided the seeds of today’s super technology, according to Dalacu. The place has not, however, escaped the attention of a handful of local “geeks,” who seem captivated by the opportunities for scientific play.

John Roy, a Lockport native, has been volunteering at the museum several days a week since he was the first person to come to its grand opening last year.

He proudly points to some of the enhancements he’s made to the exhibits, including, most recently, a plastic cover for an display that shows how 6,000 volts can create sparks that could surely be used as a special effect in a monster movie.

Dalacu calls Roy “the best thing to ever happen to the museum,” but there are others, including Rick Gray, who notes his own affection for the place while standing on a ladder to fix the ceiling. “I think it’s something really fantastic,” Gray said of the museum.

Dalacu said that while it may take a while for more people to discover the Niagara Science museum, he and his handful of science lovers will carry on. Its corner of the city is very important to the Romanian physicist who immigrated to this country 30 years ago. He also owns the company next door, Canrom Photovoltaics, where he is months away from production on some unique solar panels he has invented. The panels store the energy of the sun and convert it into electricity. When production begins, he plans to hire 10 employees. Later, if the project goes as he plans, he expects to require 100 employees.

The solar panel production is backed by grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and pays the bills, he admitted with a smile, while the museum pays homage to his love for science and research.

On Saturday, the museum will feature about 30 or so “geeks,” who will be performing experiments with the antique equipment. Mayor Paul Dyster is among the dignitaries expected to attend and there will be refreshments served

“We expect ‘geeks,’” said Dalacu, of the Saturday event. In the near future he plans to reach out to more area “geeks,” by encouraging visits from local schools and creating a club for those of all ages who can work in the museum’s machine shop to create projects such as solar cars.

“Kids who want to be ‘geeky,’ we’re going to encourage and support them,” he said. Why shouldn’t they have the chance to enjoy science as much as he does?

“This is my sandbox,” he said of the museum. “This is where we play.”

Contact reporter Michele DeLuca

michele.deluca@niagara-gazette.com

at 282-2311, ext. 2263.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • SUNLIFELexisPlace1072014jpg (1).jpg Lexi's Place: A safe haven for teens battling suicide, sexual abuse and depression

    In a perfect world, a 14-year-old wouldn’t know exactly how it feels to try suicide.
    An 11-year-old who reaches out to the unwanted kids at school would not be thrown against a locker and bullied by other teens trying to make her feel small.
    And surely no teen would have a father who, when she was small, would give her to his friends for sex.
    All those things happened to the teens at Lexi’s Place.

    July 22, 2014 8 Photos

  • SUN LIFE wine fest 3 072014.jpg [Duplicate] Sip the Niagara Wine Trail's best in one location The Niagara Wine Trail reveals it's sweetness slowly, and only to those dedicated enough to spend the time. There are 27 wineries and to sample a taste of each requires much driving through the backroads of the Niagara region, and far too much sipping to make driving a logical possibility. That's what makes the trail's 6th annual Wine and Culinary event such a good idea. Wine lovers who've always wanted to explore the new and unusual offerings of the 14-year-old wine trail, can do so next weekend, all in one place.

    July 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • SUN LIFE Open gardens 4 072014.jpg [Duplicate] Niagara gardeners take part in fest's Open Gardens program

    As they looked out over the near-half-acre that is the Blyth garden in the Town of Tonawanda, a visitor asked Linda Blyth if they ever get weeds.

    July 21, 2014 10 Photos

  • mug - Tybor, Chris RGB FIT FOR LIFE: The components, signs of an effective diet

    According to the latest research, “keto diets” or very low-carb diets are not more effective long-term than other diet methods. A wide range of diets work and I won’t debate the value of each and every diet or method out there, but the keys to a successful diet need to take the following into consideration:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE terrariums 2 072014.jpg [Duplicate] Terrariums — for the love of nature

    Terrarium workshops by Sara Johnson of Sylvatica 

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • NIA Fire Trucks art 2 071914 Local fire departments display their antique fire trucks at Canal Fest

    Canal Fest premiered a new event on Thursday afternoon with the first Vintage Fire Truck Muster, featuring antique firefighting vehicles from as early as 1872.

    July 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Debutante 2 Falls debutante program aims to teach girls the art of success

    Many of the young girls in the newest debutante class in Niagara Falls have bigger challenges in their lives than practicing curtsies and writing thank-you notes.

    July 14, 2014 3 Photos

  • SUN LIFE milk 1 071314.jpg [Duplicate] LOCKPORT: Farm couple shares organic dairy farming methods. When Tina Kowalski is out grocery shopping and she sees someone pick up a carton of organic milk, she sometimes walks over to thank them. If that carton is produced by the Upstate Farms dairy cooperative, there's a good chance it contains milk from one of the 60 dairy cows on her Lockport Farm. And she just loves those cows.

    July 13, 2014 4 Photos

  • mug - stack, catherine RGB [Duplicate] [Duplicate] NATURAL HEALTH: Do you really know what you are eating?

    Many individuals fall for words like “all natural,” “heart healthy” and pretty pictures of fruits and vegetables when shopping for groceries. These very misleading marketing ploys are partially responsible for the rising numbers of those diagnosed with heart disease and diabetes and people suffering from obesity even though they are eating foods that claim to benefit their health.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE exercise 2 071314.jpg [Duplicate] Local venues follow trend, offer free public exercise programs

     Following a trend of public, outdoor exercise programs, a number of local venues are offering their own free events aiming to get residents outside and active during the summer.

    July 13, 2014 3 Photos

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page