The Science Centre Singapore
, previously known as Singapore Science Centre is a scientific institution in Jurong East, Singapore, specialising in the promotion of scientific and technological education for the general public. With over 850 exhibits spread over eight exhibition galleries, it sees over a million visitors a year today, and over 17 million visitors up to the year 2003 when it celebrated its silver jubilee.
The Science Centre was born in from the then National Museum of Singapore
into a separate institution so that the latter could specialise in its artistic and historical collections. This idea was first mooted in 1969 by the Science Council of Singapore, and was subsequently approved by the government, who was keen to promote scientific education in the rapidly modernising country keen to tap into the technological sector.
The SCS building's architecture was decided by an architectural design competition organised by the Science Centre Board. Raymond Woo's entry was selected, and was thus commissioned as the architect for the project. Built at a cost of S$12 million on a 60,000 m² site in Jurong East, it was officially opened on 10 December 1977 by Dr Toh Chin Chye, who was the Minister-in-charge of the Science Centre Board. On 7 December 2007, the Science Centre rebranded itself to be known as "Science Centre Singapore" ("SCS").
In 1987, the centre saw a significant expansion with the opening of Singapore's first and only OMNIMAX (now known as IMAX Dome) theater, the Singapore Omni-Theatre. Costing S$18 million, it has a 276 seat theater underneath a 23-meter tilted dome. In 1999, a S$38 million renovation expanded on the exhibition space, created a new entrance, as well as open-air exhibition areas and a direct connection to the separate Omni-Theatre building. In 2000, Snow City
, a recreation of a -5 degrees Celsius environment in tropical Singapore was set up beside the Omni-Theatre.
The Science Centre Observatory is situated at 1°20′03″N 103°44′14″E, and is 15.27 m above mean sea level. It is one of the few observatories in the World
located next to the Equator. Its unique position allows constellations in both the northern and southern celestial hemispheres to be observed and thus opens up more vistas in the sky for observers. The Observatory is endowed with a range of sophisticated facilities as well as a classroom for astronomy lessons, slide shows and public talks.
The main telescope of the Observatory is a 40-cm Cassegrain reflector of combined focal length 520 cm. The sub-telescope is a 15-cm apochromatic Kepler refractor of focal length 180 cm. The equatorial mount for the telescopes was designed for Singapore's unique location; the accompanying English yoke provides the necessary stability for the drive and tracking mechanisms. The 5.5-metre stainless steel dome can be made to swivel in any direction and its shutter can be made to slide open for the telescope to be focused onto interesting objects in the sky.
The Observatory is open to the public for star-gazing sessions every Friday night since June 2006.The opening hours are from 7.50pm to 10pm. The Observatory can comfortably accommodate 50 visitors per session. It is important to note that star-gazing through the observatory telescope is only possible when the sky is clear. However, regardless of weather conditions, the staff will be present.
On 4 April 2008, the Urban Redevelopment Authority announced plans to relocate the Science Centre next to Chinese Garden MRT Station
in 10 to 15 years.