UC Davis Health and UC Davis are sponsors of the SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity (MOSAC), a new epicenter for STEAM education located in a long-abandoned historic power station on Sacramento’s waterfront.
Naming partnerships announced last fall give UC Davis Health naming rights to MOSAC’s current Health Headlines and Innovation exhibit gallery, and also its future Health Gallery. UC Davis will name the Digital Dome Theater at the museum, which overlooks Matsui Waterfront Park along the Sacramento River and Interstate 5 just north of Old Sacramento.
Built in 1912, the towering, vault-like concrete structure sat vacant and dilapidated for decades until a long-running partnership between the Powerhouse Science Center, the city, the Sacramento County Office of Education, SMUD, and a range of corporate partners and individual donors led to reuse for informal science education and experiences. Construction was completed in 2021, with the Powerhouse Science Center renamed and rebranded in 2020 as the SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity, or simply MOSAC.
UC Davis Health’s 15-year, $3 million investment in the future Health Gallery will help to create exhibits showing advancements in fields such as medical imaging and personalized cellular therapies, rapidly changing “headlines” in health research, and local examples of public health programming that are making a difference in our region.
In the Health Headlines and Innovation exhibit gallery, among the first items on display is a model of the EXPLORER Total Body Scanner, which can take an instant snapshot of the entire body in seconds. EXPLORER was developed at UC Davis and the brainchild of Simon Cherry, Ph.D., distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Ramsey Badawi, Ph.D., professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Radiology.
EXPLORER is unique in that it can image the entire body simultaneously, looking for diseased tissue. This approach is an improvement over traditional positron emission tomography (PET) scanners, which can scan only in 20-centimeter segments at a time and take more than 15 minutes to image a patient. The technology is a potential game-changer in diagnosing and treating many diseases, such as cancer, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
With UC Davis’ 15-year, $2.5 million contribution to the Digital Dome Theater, and its diverse expertise in the sciences, arts and humanities, the university will be working closely with MOSAC in improving and expanding K-12 educational courses and public programming in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and math, collectively known as STEAM.
The UC Davis Multiverse Theater will host a variety of shows, such as: astronomy and planetarium presentations; films on chemistry and physics; and special features like “Secrets of the Universe,” an IMAX film featuring UC Davis researchers (info: ucdavis.edu/news/secrets-multiverse).
MOSAC opened in November, including the Health Headlines and Innovation exhibit and the Digital Dome Theater. The full Health Gallery experience is expected to be installed in 2023.