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Published: February 9th 2019
After the movie “Crazy, Rich Asians” came out, people have been asking me if there really is a building that looks like a ship resting on three pillars in Singapore. The answer is yes.
That iconic building is Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino, and it is pretty spectacular. In addition to the jaw-dropping architecture, it boasts a high-end mall with a river running through it, complete with gondolas. It contains one of the most profitable casinos in the world, and the roof top deck with the infinity edge pool is stunning and unique. Rooms run between $600 and $6,000 a night; I, of course, have never stayed there, but for a small fee you can go up to the deck. The pool is reserved for guests.
But there is more to Marina Bay area than just the hotel and casino. One of my favorite museums is the Singapore Art Science Museum; it’s the one that looks like an opening lotus blossom. I saw there was an exhibit about Richard Feynman, and so I hustled on over.
You may not be familiar with the name of Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winner in physics in 1965, but if you
The Art Science Museum is reflected in the disk.
remember the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, you probably remember Richard Feynman. He was part of the team that investigated the cause of the explosion. When it came time to present their findings, he was the scientist who famously dipped the o-ring into his glass of ice water to demonstrate its lack of resilience at freezing temperatures.
I’m not a physicist (not even close!) but I’d read Feynman’s book, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr.Feynman,” about his work on nuclear physics and quantum electro dynamics, with sidelines about safe-cracking, playing the bongos, and the myriad practical jokes he played on people who took themselves way too seriously. It is unquestionably the funniest book ever written by a physicist. The exhibit, which included video excerpts of lectures he gave at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, was a good one, and well worth my time (and the price of admission.)
South of the Art Science Museum is another very cool museum, called the Red Dot Design Museum. This houses an ever-changing collection of things that have won Red Dot Design Awards. Some of these designs are so inventive and so useful you wonder why nobody thought of it sooner. And
the museum store is one of the more fun shops around. I picked up a power strip that was round called the Mogics Power Donut that was designed for travel, but could certainly be used anywhere you needed a power strip, but this also included an adapter plug. The Origin of The Little Red Dot
On many world maps Singapore is depicted by a red dot at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula. The term "little red dot" gained currency after the former Indonesian President B. J. Habibie was regarded as having criticized Singapore in an article published in the Asian Wall Street Journal in August 1998. It was reported that Habibie had remarked that he did not have the feeling that Singapore was a friend, and had pointed to a map, saying: "It's O.K. with me, but there are 211 million people . All the green is Indonesia. And that red dot is Singapore."
Since then, Singaporeans have adopted the term “Little Red Dot” as a point of pride, highlighting the achievements of Singapore despite its small size. Possibly Useful Information
The closest MRT stop to both the Art Science Museum and
the Red Dot Design Museum is Bayfront, serviced by both the Circle Line and the Downtown Line.
Books by Richard Feynman include “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” and “What Do You Care What People Think” both of which are fun reads and you don’t need a science background to enjoy them. His science oriented books, which are still understandable to the non-physicist, include “QED” and “Six Easy Pieces.”
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