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20.07.2020

Heureka, Helsinki

Heureka is a Finnish research centre in Vantaa, Finland, north of Helsinki, designed by Heikkinen - Komonen Architects. The aim of the Science Centre, which opened its doors to the public in 1989, is to popularise scientific information and develop methods used to teach science and scientific concepts. The name "Eureka" (eureka in English) refers to the Greek exclamation allegedly made by Archimedes, which means "I found it! (made a discovery). The Heureka Science Centre offers interactive indoor and outdoor exhibitions, with exhibits that allow visitors to test different concepts and ideas for themselves. There is also a digital planetarium with 135 seats.

The Heureka Science Centre is a non-profit organisation managed by the Finnish Science Centre Foundation. The Foundation for the Finnish Science Centre is a broad-based cooperation organisation that includes the Finnish scientific community, the education sector, trade and industry as well as national and local government. The Foundation's ten reference organisations support, develop and actively participate in Heureka's activities. The supreme body of the foundation is the Board of Trustees, whose decisions are implemented by the Governing Board. The day-to-day activities are the responsibility of the Heureka director, who is assisted by the management team and other employees.

The roots of the Finnish Heureka Research Centre can be traced back to the University of Helsinki and scientists who have become acquainted with various research centres around the world. The original spark was lit by Associate Professors Tapio Markkanen, Hannu I. Miettinen and Heikki Oja. It all started with the exhibition "Physics 82", held at the House of the States of Helsinki from 20-26 May 1982. In the autumn of the same year, the project of the Science Centre was launched with the initial support of the Finnish Academy, Ministry of Education and various foundations. The project led to the establishment of the Finnish Science Centre Foundation in 1983-1984. The original founding members of the foundation were the University of Helsinki, the University of Technology of Helsinki, the Federation of Finnish Scientific Societies and the Confederation of Industry.

In 1984, the city of Vantaa offered to become the host city and partial financier of the Science Centre, and identified a real estate plot located in the southern part of Tikkuril as the future location of the Centre. In an architectural competition held in 1985, the first two prizes were awarded, of which the winning design was chosen, namely "Eureka" design by Mikko Heikkinen, Markku Kononen and Lauri Anttila. This is how the Finnish scientific centre Heureka got its name! Before the building was completed, a number of test exhibitions were organized at other sites. The internal plan of the Science Centre was completed in 1986. The foundation of the building was laid in October 1987, and construction work was completed one year later. The total area of the building is 8,200 m2, of which 2800 m2 are exhibition spaces.

There are about 200 exhibits related to different fields of science in the main exhibition hall. The main exhibition was completely renovated in 1999, but small changes are also taking place in the main exhibition hall every year. Topics include, for example, digestion and intestinal functions, money production and traffic. The exhibition "Wind in the Subsoil" was developed in cooperation with the Finnish Medical Society Duodecim. The exhibition "About Coins" was organised in cooperation with the Finnish Mint to celebrate the company's 150th anniversary.

As a continuation of the main exhibition, the Heureka Classics exhibition was opened in 2009 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Heureka. Since the beginning of August 2009, Heureka has also featured the "Science of the Sphere" exhibition.

In addition to the main exhibition, Eureka usually also holds two temporary exhibitions. Topics from past temporary exhibitions included, for example, dinosaurs, humans, sports, forests, the art of film, flight and ancient cultures. Since the opening of Heureka, the most successful exhibitions have been those of dinosaurs. For example, the 2001 exhibition on dinosaur family life attracted 406,000 visitors. Many of Heureka's own exhibitions have appeared in numerous scientific centres around the world. Eureka also shows exhibitions imported from abroad.

Heureka's outdoor exhibition space, Galileo Science Park, opened in 2002. This area of the center can be visited annually during the summer season. Galileo Science Park is a kind of "scientific site". On an area of 7500 m2 there are dozens of exhibits, many of which represent water as the main element. The exhibits are based on mathematical, physical and musical phenomena. The outdoor park also contains moving works of art, such as the sand plotter created by the famous Finnish artist Osmo Waltonen. Galilee also has an arboretum with coniferous species from the northern hemisphere.

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