5 Great Geek Tourist Spots
1. CERN, Geneva, Switzerland:
2. Musée Curie, Paris, France:
3. Greenwich, London, UK:
Denoted by 51° 28’ 44.76”N and 0° 0’ 0”E, Greenwich has the prime meridian running right through the Royal Observatory and is literally the centre of the earth. The Royal Observatory has been at Greenwich since 1675 and was of great importance in maintaining Britain’s naval power: observations of planets, moons and stars were needed for the nautical almanacs used for navigation. Close to the Royal Observatory is the National Maritime Museum, which contains the clock that revolutionized navigation in 1759—John Harrison’s H4 marine chronometer. Also on display at the National Maritime Museum are three clocks that Harrison built prior to the H4: logically enough, these are called the H1, H2, and H3. These three clocks are still running today; the H4 still works, but is only wound on rare occasions to avoid wearing out its components. The observatory and museum are inside Greenwich Park, which affords a wonderful view over London and a good place for a picnic lunch. Entry to the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum, and Greenwich Park is free.
4. Tesla Museum, Belgrade, Serbia:
Nikola Tesla, the man who lit up the world, was born in Serbia (now Croatia) and then moved to America. Although AC power was the biggest brain child of Tesla, his inventions were not limited to it. Along with Marconi, he shares the honour of inventing radio and he worked on wireless transmission of electricity, remote controls, vertical take-off and landing aircraft, directed-energy weaponry, robotics, spark plugs, and more. In all, he was awarded over 300 patents. Nevertheless, Tesla died destitute, in room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel in New York City. Two thousand people attended his funeral. Today the Tesla Museum in Belgrade houses his complete collection of books, writing, and objects, as well as his cremated ashes on display in a golden sphere. The museum explains many of Tesla’s inventions, including AC power, and is the definitive place to understand Tesla’s life and work.
5. Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA:
The Kennedy Space Center is the site of the launch of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, the Space Shuttle, and countless other spacecraft and is also a major tourist attraction. The standard tour included in the ticket price takes in the International Space Station Center, the Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry and the Apollo/Saturn V Center. There are two other tours, which must be booked in advance: the NASA Up-Close Tour and the Cape Canaveral: Then & Now Tour. The Up-Close Tour takes visitors as close as possible to the shuttle launch pads, around the Vehicle Assembly Building, and on to view the gigantic Crawler Transporters used to move the Space Shuttle. The Cape Canaveral: Then & Now Tour takes visitors back to the launch pads used for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. This includes Launch Pad 34, where the Apollo 1 fire killed astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffe.