Two weeks ago I visited Geneva for the first time. Among other things we visited a museum out of “our programme”, the History of Science Museum.
The ground floor of the museum had some tools that were in use in the past century in science research (microscopes, telescope, Earth globes…). In the upper floor there was a temporary exhibition about hazard, probability and games (“Les jeux sont faits! hasard et probabilités“). That one was great. Few times I had a better time in a museum than there. To name but a few of the games and tricks it had: rigged dice for the visitor to throw (and contribute to the experiment by noting down results), the game of the three-door game with a prize behind one of them (always change of choice when given the chance!), a small casino roulette (not only I didn’t lose any cash this time but finally I could throw the ball and say “rien ne va plus!”), a russian roulette, etc.
The interactive experiment that I enjoyed the most was one that challenged the visitor to guess the weight of a die. As a reference there were given three weights of 1, 3 and 5 kg to compare the die with (there was no scale). You had to enter your guess in a screen (my guess was 2.5 kg). Right afterwards you got information of previous visitors’ guesses: from 1 to 9.5kg (!), average weight guess of about 2.83kg… no one would tell you the solution. I don’t know how, but I hope I’ll get to know the solution to the quiz, even if it won’t be published until the exhibition finishes (January 2013).
Another feature that I loved of the museum was that in many of its rooms it had small brochures to be taken by the visitor as a complement of the visit. I took many of them to read them afterwards. It happens to me many times that after a couple of hours of slowly walking and reading lots of different interesting things in a museum I simply can’t take anymore of it. With these brochures you can make a lighter visit, knowing that the details you skip while at the museum can be read later on.
I highly recommend the visit to the museum. The visit will not take much longer than an hour (unless you engage yourself in every single game), it only requires a small diversion from the walk by the lake and by the way the admission is free.