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Strange Matter at the Museum of Science
October 2 , 2004


Halifax, NS, September 27, 2004 -- Space exploration and cardiac surgery are known for their use of advanced materials, but these materials have also found their way into the stuff of everyday life - from cell phones to cameras, from duct tape to dinner plates and canoes to kayaks. And now Nova Scotians have a unique opportunity to enter the fascinating world of materials and uncover the surprising science behind
everyday stuff.

Opening today at Discovery Centre and running until January 3, 2005, the Strange Matter exhibition explores the intriguing world of modern materials and provides a glimpse of where the future of materials research might take us. Canoes and kayaks came alive today as Dartmouth brothers Steve Giles, Olympic canoer and Peter Giles, Olympic kayaker spoke to a group of visitors about how materials science has positively affected their paddling careers.

"In the 1980s, all the best racing canoes and kayaks were made out of wood by a small number of European craftsmen. The very best paddlers in the world could cover 1000 metres in about 4:05, under ideal conditions. At the 2004 Olympics, the winning time was 3:46. A big part of the difference is due to innovations in boat and paddle design," said Peter Giles, PhD. "What used to be a craft has turned into an industry. New composite materials have made that innovation possible." Not only do these brothers share a passion for paddling, but they both have careers in science. Steve Giles, an Electrical Engineer, agrees with his brother and praised Discovery Centre for bringing such good everyday, science-related information to the general public.

Strange Matter opened in Toronto late last year, but its appearance at Discovery Centre will be the only Canadian stop until 2007.

"We're thrilled to offer visitors to Discovery Centre here in Halifax the only opportunity in Canada outside of Toronto to interact with this world-class exhibition for quite some time," says Liz Batstone, Executive Director of Discovery Centre. "Strange Matter links science laboratories with kitchens and everyday reality.

Mary Anne White, BSc, PhD, says "Materials research affects us all. It's about stuff that helps us live each and every day, from new types of concrete to replacement heart valves. We are delighted to have this exhibit here to show the role of materials in our lives."

White is the director of the Institute for Research in Materials at Dalhousie University and is a member of the Materials Research Society, the presenting sponsor of the Strange Matter exhibit. This exhibition and its tour are made possible by the generous support of the National Science Foundation, Alcan, Dow, Ford Motor Company Fund, Intel(r) Innovation in Education and the 3M Foundation.

Discovery Centre is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to presenting science in an accessible, fun and hands-on environment. An integral part of the community, Discovery Centre exists through earned revenue, support from government, and donations from corporate partners. Discovery Centre's mission is to stimulate interest in science and technology among the general public and to foster a spirit of inquiry and exploration among people of all ages throughout the province, continuing to bring the often complex and remote world of science into everyday experiences.

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About the Materials Research Society: The Materials Research Society is a not-for-profit scientific association founded in 1973 to promote interdisciplinary goal-oriented research on materials of technological importance. Membership in the Society consists of more than 12,500 scientists from industry, government, academia and research laboratories in the United States and nearly 50 other countries.

For more information, please contact:

Judith Kays
Marketing Communications Manager
Discovery Centre
1593 Barrington Street Halifax NS B3J 1Z7
Phone: (902)492-4422 x. 236

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Anita B. Miller
Manager, Marketing and Member Services, Materials Research Society

Tel: 724-779-3004 x551
Fax: 724-779-8313

Judith Kays
Marketing Communications Manager
Discovery Centre

Tel: 902-492-4422 x236
Email: judithkays@

Carole McFall
Press Contact
Museum of Science, Boston

Tel: 617-589-0257