## Wednesday, May 27, 2009

### Five places you've never heard of featured in The Geek Atlas

The Geek Atlas includes some of the big, famous science attractions around the world, but it's also about places that you haven't heard of, and shouldn't miss.

Have you ever visited these?

1. Experimental Breeder Reactor 1 near Arco, Idaho.

It's the first ever breeder reactor and in its parking lot there are two nuclear aircraft engines (that, happily, never got off the ground). And it's free. If you are a nuclear tourist then this is the place to go: it's got the first lightbulbs lit with nuclear power.

2. The International Latitude Observatory in Gaithersburg, Maryland

If you're an astronomer making accurate observations of the stars from an Earthly observatory then knowing how the Earth rotates is essential. This observatory was one of a chain that accurately followed Earth's rotation and all its weird and wonderful wobbles.

3. The Fermat Museum in Beaumont-de-Lomange, France

Pierre de Fermat is known for his Last Theorem which was only proved hundreds of years after his death. He lived in this market town in France which is full of delicious local produce and a museum of his life and mathematics with lots of mathematical games for people of all ages.

4. The nuclear bunker at The Greenbrier in West Virginia

If the US were involved in a nuclear war there needed to be a place for the entire US Congress to keep working. That place was underneath one of the most luxurious resorts in the US. The secret's now out and the bunker is decommissioned and open to the public.

5. The Mendel Museum of Genetics in Brno, Czech Republic

Gregor Mendel was the monk who figured out the fundamental laws of inheritance of traits by children from their parents by observing generation after generation of pea plants. Years before genes were understood, Mendel had made observation and deductions that identified how traits are paired with recessive and dominate versions.

You won't find the places in The Geek Atlas just by asking at a tourist office. It's abut the places that matter in science and then tourism has forgotten.

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If you enjoyed this blog post, you might enjoy my travel book for people interested in science and technology: The Geek Atlas. Signed copies of The Geek Atlas are available.

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