"What's Up With U(ranium)" is now on permanent display at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, engaging visitors of all ages while answering questions such as where does uranium come from, how does it move through the environment, how does it affect us and is it radioactive.
“What’s Up With U” is a New Mexico Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) funded exhibit that partnered the Nuclear Museum with researchers and students from the University of New Mexico and New Mexico Tech to investigate all things Uranium. EPSCoR is an organization whose mission is to enhance research competitiveness of targeted jurisdictions – states, territories, commonwealth - by strengthening STEM capacity and capability.
This EPSCoR program started with six areas of research, of which three became exhibitions, all exploring the connection that water has to a particular energy resource. Wind and Solar were one, Bio-algual and Osmotic were the second, and Uranium was the topic for the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.
“This program and grant process started five years ago,” said Jim Walther, Museum Director. “EPSCoR presented a sub-award to the three local science museums – the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science and Explora – to present the research content. Each museum received a monetary grant to support the management, design and creation of the individual exhibitions.”
Uranium as an overall topic remains important to the New Mexico community. Uranium mining and the residual effects are a legacy issue in the New Mexico environment, dating back to the Cold War and its nuclear weapon efforts. Since less was known in the 1950-1970s regarding the long-term effects of radiation from uranium sources and its left-over products, it has been, and will continue to be, an issue in New Mexico.
“We are proud of this specialized and informative exhibit because it covers a negative concern with a positive research story that will help our public understand how scientists and students are learning how to protect us and mitigate the impact of this in our environment,” said Walther. “Visitors will learn about how and where Uranium is mined, the scale of the atomic structure of Uranium, what environmental and human health issues are associated with Uranium and even a glimpse into some of the most current research being performed today.”
This special exhibition at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History was made possible through partnerships with the University of New Mexico, Wyoming Department of Environment Quality, University of California – Riverside, Rodman & Renshaw, U.S. Geological Survey, New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology, Boston University, Navajo Technological University, Scholle Petrographic LLC and the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources.
“What’s Up with U” is included with regular museum admission.
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