The Ohio State University, one of the country’s largest public research universities, and COSI, one of the nation’s largest and most innovative science centers, have formed a deep partnership — classified by some international leaders as “an example of what a 21st century science center should look like.” Building on one of the most intense partnerships known between a research university and science center, COSI and OSU have created a “center of science” at COSI where research, science, and university outreach are embedded into the fabric of everyday public, student, and family experiences. Guided by formal institutional co-commitments at the highest level, university researchers, faculty and students engage daily with the 600,000+ on-site guests to COSI and the tens of thousands engaged through interactive video conferencing outreach.
COSI collaborated closely with the Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University to create a new Interactive Video Conferencing program, In Depth: Kidney Replacement, where students learn about a teen’s kidney transplant story by viewing taped footage from both the donor and recipient surgeries, which are narrated live by a member of The Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Transplant Team. This program is expected to reach thousands of high school students and the general public throughout the United States. The program launched in fall 2014.
COSI features three, fully-working research laboratories within the Life Exhibition area that were created jointly by COSI and OSU. The research labs are designed in such a way to put research in the midst of our guest experience and allow the public to interact with the researchers by observing, asking questions, and participating where appropriate. Current researchers are from the areas of Pharmacology, Optometry, and Linguistics. Working with Dr. Caroline Whitacre, OSU Vice President of Research and COSI Board member, we jointly select researchers and their projects that are interesting and accessible to the public. The partnership has been extremely beneficial to both COSI and OSU. COSI guests are able to engage with working scientists in a robust and meaningful way, while OSU researchers have found that they can greatly expand the amount of research they can conduct by working on-site at COSI.
This joint initiative between OSU and COSI established a research center of eight researchers (four Ph.D. level researchers) specializing in research in informal learning. They design, implement, and support studies from the COSI space, using the glass faced area as another "window" into social science research and sharing what research is taking place at the time. The results of CRE’s work enhances the efficacy of scientific-cultural institutions throughout Ohio and beyond. Additionally, as an official OSU research site, COSI – through the Center - oversees and supports all on-site research activity.
WOSU digital media built their new HD TV studio within COSI’s facility to become the only PBS station to be housed within a science center in the U.S. The joint project was to create both a working TV station that could be observed in action by the public and a flexible space that allows for public exhibits and interactions to help the public understand the technology principles behind HD TV media. In addition to daily TV and guest operations, COSI and WOSU have partnered on numerous panel discussions hosted in WOSU@COSI where OSU professors and other notable speakers explore contemporary issues and hold public discussions around these topics.
COSI holds monthly science-themed days, many featuring scientists, engineers, researchers and graduate students to help guests explore a number of cutting edge science topics including nanoscience, materials science, engineering, and chemistry, to name a few. Science Days include OSU as well as community partners, corporations, and other experts to present a well-rounded exploration of the science topic being presented.
COSI works closely with various departments for The Ohio State University to train science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals for communicating science to general public audiences. Programs include:
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